The dialogue is on topics close to my heart which those of you who have followed my blog over the years will be well acquainted with. I am fascinated to see that there is more discourse happening about who we are as New Zealander’s, how we behave and our ingrained social practices. These themes are also discussed in the essay with my artwork ‘Tall White Poppy’.
The following ‘Nebula Paintings’ are on display and exclusively for sale at the gorgeous new Zambesi Parnell store.
Check out Moena Moxham Scarves while you are in!
Acrylic, glitter, matt varnish on stretched canvas, wax seal signature, Ø 607mm, ‘18, 1/1
Modern side-table, acrylic, glitter, resin, seal signature, Ø 400 x 455mm, 2019, 1/1
Acrylic, matt varnish on stretched canvas, wax seal signature, Ø 607mm, 2018, 1/1
287 Parnell Road
t. +64 9 308 0363
10am - 6pm Monday to Friday
10am - 5pm Saturday
11am - 5pm Sunday
MID-CENTURY FURNITURE & NEBULA PAINTINGS
All other pieces are available to purchase through Moena Moxham.com
MOENA MOXHAM SCARVES
NEW DESIGNS LANDING SOON!
Just in time for Winter- Moena Moxham 100% cashmere scarves with unique designs from the paintings.
Available in all Zambesi stores - Parnell, Newmarket, Ponsonby and Wellington and for pre-order below.
p.s super luxurious extra thick ‘Cashmere | Pashmina Laddakhi’ scarves arriving after June
140cm² (55”²), 100% Cashmere, Eyelash fringe, Hand finished labelling, Reversible design
PRE-ORDER by ‘Pay Now’
140cm² (55”²), 100% Cashmere, Eyelash fringe, Hand finished labelling, Reversible design
PRE-ORDER by ‘Pay Now’
140cm² (55”²), 100% Cashmere, Eyelash fringe, Hand finished labelling, Reversible design
In Stock Now
140cm² (55”²), 100% Cashmere, Eyelash fringe, Hand finished labelling, Reversible design
PRE-ORDER by ‘Pay Now’
140cm² (55”²), 100% Cashmere, Eyelash fringe, Hand finished labelling, Reversible design
PRE-ORDER by ‘Pay Now’
Recently I was blessed to have the honour of spending a day and a half with a hero of mine- aviator Tracey Curtis Taylor aka ‘Bird in a Biplane’. Tracey has organised and piloted multiple flight expeditions with historic aircraft across Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and America and has devoted her life to the art of flying and inspiring others with her passion. She is a pioneer of aviation both today and of yesteryear.
Tracey has completed multiple transcontinental routes in her biplane, the Boeing-Stearman "Spirit of Artemis". These ‘journeys of a lifetime’ (she has lived many) have been pinnacles of a life filled with achievement and success. Achieving both her personal and commercial licences, gaining her instructor rating and also participating in aerobatics and formation flying- there is no holding Tracey back. She is equally motivated and compelled to inspire and encourage others, especially women, to achieve their dreams and goals.
In addition to being immensely talented, she is also just an incredible person, her experiences have filled her with a knowledge and enthusiasm for the world and our inhabitants which is optimistic, educated and endearing. It was a delight to be able to talk with her in depth about life, her loves and living dreams.
Her latest movie is to be released this year in 2019, trailer below.
‘BIRD IN A BIPLANE’
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA to GOODWOOD, ENGLAND. 2013
In 2013, Curtis-Taylor flew Spirit of Artemis in an eight-week journey, covering over 13,000 km, from Cape Town, South Africa to the Goodwood Aerodrome in West Sussex, England. The journey comprised a total of 38 legs and 110 basic VFR flying hours, and followed the 1928 flight of Mary, Lady Heath, from Cape Town to Cairo, Egypt, travelling over Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan. The journey took five years to prepare for, including finding a biplane which would cope with the heat of Africa.
FARNBOROUGH, ENGLAND to SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA. 2015-16
On 1 October 2015 Curtis-Taylor departed from Farnborough, England, flying in Spirit of Artemis, arriving in Sydney Australia on 9 January 2016. The journey was inspired by pioneer aviator Amy Johnson, who flew solo from England to Australia in 1930. The flight path was across 23 countries in 50 legs. She was accompanied by a small support crew in a modern plane who documented the journey for her movie.
Several stopovers were scheduled into the flight, often with the aim of introducing Curtis-Taylor to local communities and to inspire others, particularly women. In Dubai, the plane was part of the Boeing display at the Dubai Airshow in the United Arab Emirates, while Curtis-Taylor was a keynote speaker at the International Aviation Women's Association conference.
In Pakistan Curtis-Taylor was hosted by Squadron Leader Saira Batool of the Pakistani Air Force, and visited a school in Karachi with female Pakistani mountaineer Samina Baig to speak about their adventures and to inspire the children. In Singapore, she met with girls and women involved in the UN Women programme Girls2Pioneers.
US TRANS-CONTINENTAL FLIGHT. 2016-17
In spring 2016 Curtis-Taylor started a US Transcontinental Flight, with multiple stops along the historic US Airmail Routes, flying from Seattle to Los Angeles and the Transcontinental route from LA to NY. The trip was cut short by a crash in the desert, at Winslow, Arizona, due to a loss of engine power. The NTSB investigation reported that "a gray / tan liquid was drained from the carburetor". She and her co-pilot were uninjured but the Boeing Stearman was badly damaged. It was airlifted from Phoenix to Hungary, where it was rebuilt in time to attend the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow, which celebrated Boeing's centenary year. She returned with her Boeing Stearman to LA in June 2017 and finished the flight across the USA with a finale at the American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport NY. This completed her World Flight, flying across five continents. On both US tours the Stearman biplane was shipped across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, as it does not have the fuel range or instrumentation to cover such distances.
🛩️ 🛩️ 🛩️
I am absolutely delighted to announce that from Monday, Moena Moxham Scarves are available for purchase in New Zealand at the drop dead gorgeous Zambesi boutiques in Wellington and Auckland.
In addition to their own brand, Zambesi also stocks international labels such as Rick Owens, A. F. Vandevorst, Bernhard Willhelm, Maison Margeila, J. W. Anderson, Adidas Y3, Simone Rocha and Vetements.
Zambesi Locations :
**JUST OPENED** ZAMBESI PARNELL - 287 Parnell Road, Parnell 1052, Auckland
ZAMBESI BRITOMART - 56 Tyler Street, Britomart 1010, Auckland
t. +64 9 303 1701 e. email@example.com
ZAMBESI PONSONBY - 169 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby 1011, Auckland
t. +64 9 360 7391 e. firstname.lastname@example.org
ZAMBESI WELLINGTON - 103 Customhouse Quay, CBD 6011, Wellington
t. +64 4 472 3638 e. email@example.com
The Zambesi stores and fashion label are iconic in Australsia and synonymous with luxury, quality and all things chic. It is an honour to be sold through New Zealand’s premier fashion boutique.
Look no further for fabulous Christmas present ideas for your family and friends.
Splash out on those most special to you with Moena Moxham limited edition embossed prints, 100% Cashmere Scarves and Moena Moxham Art.
As a special gift to you, and to relieve some of the stress associated to this time of year- I will mail the prints and scarves within New Zealand or internationally for no additional cost. WOOP! Just supply your delivery address in the ‘comments’ section when going through ‘Checkout’ on Paypal, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Both items are uni-sex and suitable for all ages. The scarves come in gorgeous bespoke packaging- all ready to send or give and the prints are covered front and back with thick cardboard and shrink-wrapped.
With love from my family to yours, and may you have a safe, fun-filled and wonderful holiday season.
Art and luxury have gone hand in hand together forever.
Just like champagne and strawberries, some things are just meant to be paired. So there was no question when I decided to marry two of my favourite things; drawing and scarves that I would choose to immortalise these on cashmere.
A facet of my formal academic education is in Textile design, a medium I had moved away from in the last few years, leaning more towards fine art techniques and methodologies. Yarns, textures, embroidery, and fabric fascinates me and I find nothing more satisfying than being able to wear one of my artworks.
My travels through India, Kashmir, and Asia in 2017 culminated with my design ideas paring with new relationships in textile manufacturing. I was enraptured with the qualities of cashmere I could source, the traditional and modern textile application techniques I saw being used, the developments in printing that have happened over the last few years, and the vibrancy of the yarns and dyes I could work with. Fortified with vision, deeply inspired, and motivated to create a product of exceptional quality, I returned to NZ to create the masterpieces you can own today.
‘Moena Moxham’ scarves are uni-sex, transgenerational and very versatile. They can be worn as a dress, trussed or tied with a belt as a top, worn as a traditional scarf, shrugged on as a shawl or simply used as a blanket on long-haul flights or overnight excursions.
A statement on their own or to bring colour and pattern to a simple outfit, scarves have always been an essential item for the minimalist traveller and fashionista.
I am so very excited to invite you to view and purchase my new collection.
New Zealand listen- this is us.
I’ve been talking on this strain for years and yet people in NZ don’t really seem to have been very receptive to my point of view- overseas I find the complete opposite, and, a lot of people who feel the same as me. I am intrigued and hearted to hear Matt Bevin’s point of view about the changes in society we are seeing today.
Everything we choose cross pollinates other things- we are little bees of the world. We need to go back to making beautiful golden honey rather than using our sting, our barbs at each other.
Humanity, there is hope- but we have to change- we have to take personal responsibility for what we are watching, what we are seeing, what we allow in our psyche. We must be the change we want to see. It is our responsibility to teach our children the real fundamentals of life; of love, of respect and of acceptance.
Over the last few months while revelling in being a new Mommy and all that entails, I've been working on new knits on commission and also to add to the Mademina Baby Collection. These three gorgeous heirlooms are luxurious, chic and worthy of being kept for future generations.
Adira darling, thank you for your professional modelling skills little one- you are the best xo
'Snuggled Cot Blanket', Hand crocheted 3D stitched baby blanket, 100% cashmere, 4ply- 445g, Seafoam, 1300 x 690mm, 2018.
'Moses Basket Weave', Hand crocheted baby romper, 100% angora, size newborn, 2018.
'Seashore Romper', Hand crocheted baby romper, 100% angora, sizes 9-12 months, 2018.
It’s been an incredible 6 1/2 months; fortified by the love and support of my wonderful partner and primarily revolving around our vibrant wee honey bee! Watching Adira grow and develop is by far our favourite pleasure.
We have loved doing little photoshoots with her as to document her progress, above are a few of these photos.
Below are some baby food recipes for new Mommy’s who want to make their own purees rather than buying store bought. I found it hard to find neat recipes for our tiny gourmet that were interesting after doing the standard initiations of pureed apple, baby porridge and the rest.
Tried and tested- Adira says they pass the raspberries test- ie: they stay in the mouth rather than other places eh little munchkin ;) aand the first one- ‘Thai- style Fruit Pudding’ is bloody great for all of us- deliver to a parfait glass and top with vanilla mascarpone and a sprig of mint. Bless.
Tropical Thai-style Fruit Pudding
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp. brown sugar (omit if you’d prefer refined sugar free)
1 tsp. lime juice
Peel, core and chop mango into chunks. Peel and slice banana into chunks. Over medium heat, pour coconut milk into a medium-sized saucepan. With a wooden spoon, stir in brown sugar and lime juice. Add mango and banana. Cook for 3 minutes. Pour the mixture into a blender and puree to a smooth texture. Pour the fruit pudding into your freezer cube trays, cover and freeze until ready to use.
Defrosted pudding cubes taste great alone, but try these options for variety:
Add fruit pudding to oatmeal for a great tasting start to the day.
Add a few cubes of fruit pudding to pancake batter to make Thai-inspired pancakes
Add mashed brown rice to create a fruity rice pudding
Toss 2-3 frozen cubes, 2 ice cubes and splash of fruit juice or milk in a blender for a frothy fruit smoothie.
Ginger Pear Delight
1/8 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Wash the pears. Peel skin and remove the core. Cut the fruit into 1-inch chunks or slices.
Microwave Method: Place the pears in a microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle the pears with vanilla and ground ginger. Cover with a lid. Cook on HIGH for 5 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. The fruit is done if a fork slides easily into it or it can be mashed easily. Place the fruit and 2-4 Tbsp. of the cooking juice into a blender or food processor. Stove Method: Pour 1 cup of water in a large saucepan. Set a steamer basket in the saucepan. Place the pear pieces in the steamer basket. Sprinkle the pears with vanilla and ground ginger. Cover the saucepan and place on a stove burner. Set the burner temperature to HIGH and bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. The fruit is done if a fork slides easily into it or it can be mashed easily. Place the fruit and 2 to 4 Tbsp. of cooking juice into a blender or food processor.
Puree the pears in the blender or food processor to a smooth texture. At least once during the puree process, stop the appliance and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Pour or spoon the pureed pears into ice cube trays and cover them. Put them in the freezer for 8 to 10 hours or overnight.
Write “PEARS” and the date on a freezer storage bag. Remove the baby food trays from the freezer and quickly run hot water over the back of the tray. Twist the tray to pop the pear cubes out and into the freezer storage bag. Place the storage bag in the freezer.
Baby Borscht Puree
3 beets, peeled
1 apple, peeled
1 potato, peeled
1½ cups water or low-sodium chicken/ vege broth
Chop beets, apple and potato into 1-inch cubes and place them in medium saucepan. Add water or chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are fork tender. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool a few minutes. Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor and puree to a smooth texture. Pour the Baby Borscht into your ice cube trays, cover and freeze until ready to use.
Defrost borscht cubes and stir in a little plain yogurt for a creamy texture. Serve warm or cool
Shitake & Edamame Puree
Edamame and Shitake mushrooms are two very common ingredients in Japanese cooking. Edamame (pronounced ed-ah-MAH-may) are little green gems – packed with protein and loads of nutrients. Including Shitake mushrooms in this puree is a great way to introduce your baby to the distinctive taste of umami.
1/2 cup Shitake mushrooms, stems removed
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 cups Shelled Edamame
¾ – 1 cup Water
1 tsp. Soy sauce, optional
Bring 6 cups of water to boil in a stock pot. Add Edamame and cook for 4 minutes. Drain Edamame in a colander and place them in a blender or food processor. In a small sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat, add mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, soy sauce and ¾ cup of water to the Edamame in the blender. Process until the mixture is a smooth puree. If needed, add additional water.
Spoon the puree into ice cube trays, cover and freeze until ready to use. Serve as a vegetable dish for your baby’s meal with mashed brown rice, meats or fish.
Bambina’s Beef Mince With Kumera
300 to 450g lean beef mince
1 cup peeled, grated kumera (sweet potato)
400g peeled, grated apple
1 cup water
Put mince, apple and kumera into a saucepan. Add water and bring slowly the boil.
Simmer gently for about 35 minutes, stirring often, until reduced and thick but still moist.
Puree to a smooth consistency.
VOILA! Quick, easy and ten times better than what comes out of those Tetra packs ;)
Anthony you were a genius; an enigma and my hero.
May you rest in peace dining in heaven with angels.
You will be forever missed.
Those of you who follow my blog will be well acquainted with my poetry.
However today, I thought it was time to dedicate a chapter entirely to this form of expression, and to publish some new and unseen material which also celebrates that old skool thang called handwriting ;P
Head over to the POETRY page to see more ♥
I have recently added new pages to my website and done a reorganise. Come on over and visit 'Adirable', the fruits of my gastronomy endeavours in 'ButterBING', my incredibly talented partner's kiwifruit creations in 'Kiwi-Kai', aaaaaand my baby-wear crocheting in 'Mademina'.
I hope you enjoy and are inspired.
Instagram, you've just gone ick.
Loved you but I'm leaving you friend, your new change in service is just not up my alley.
I'm not taking part in Ai- honestly it gives me the creeps and makes me mad. We struggle to employ and give purpose to humanity as is, why in God's name are we interested in giving jobs to things which don't have families to feed, relationships to foster or spirits to nurture??
I admit, my desire to share my life and loves all came to a grinding halt with the birth of Adira, but things had been festering towards that build up. My latest experience on social media had left me feeling much like my short stint on Facebook a few years ago. I didn't like the negative backlash; the jealousy, the envy and the 'measuring up' of what we have or have not. The hours whittled away geezing at Kim K's ass or Kylie Jenner's latest makeup was fun I admit, especially when I'd succumbed to morning sickness; but really it's all brain fluff and it just fills my noggin with ideas that block my own creativity.
Friends started calling less, and even those closest to me took posts as enough of a catch up. But most of all, I've gotta say, I don't like other people having any 'ownership' or 'share-ship' over my identity, snapshots or creative output. Am I a control freak or am I just careful?
I don't like the big picture further down the line with either Ai, social media or where our privacy laws are going, and I'm definitely not going to take a gamble on my predictions with my daughter.
I remember many posts ago making a comment similar to this "if we can acertain what someone likes and loves, we can in turn figure out what they hate, and with this information we can manipulate and control others". We are quietly and naively giving people authority to control our thoughts, our feeling and through this our actions. We are feeding psycological/ spiritual warfare; locally, governmentally, globally. Those innocent 'likes' have sinister ramifications.
Yes spiritual- these seemingly innocuous apps are quietly crucifying us. They breed negativity and divert us from finding our own purpose. We're getting sucked into immaterial and superficial untruths and we're increasingly complacent about these changes and compliant to them once they are revealed. Ulterior motives seem more prevalent than ever and sinister motivations by governments and mega corporations are infiltrating our communities. I don't like being tracked and recognised wherever I go, I abhor the demise in real communication; I don't want to be a part of environments where this is normalised. New Zealand's developments are immensely concerning; Research the GCSB and what liberties they can take upon you... research Project Speargun in Auckland...
So, there's more than enough info for people to see or get lost in about me here on my website. I've never found any increase in my sales as an artist by having Insta- although any man and his hairy dog would like to tell you otherwise, and I had a fantastic feed. In my experience, again the nasty outweighed the beneficial, and I feel relieved to have cut ties. It won't be long until like Facebook you will not be able to delete your account, I'm happy I got in when I did and removed my data. All props to you if you've got 40K followers and you're making cachinga off them- it's not my life path, it doesn't make me buzz.
Technology inevitably becomes obsolete; people don't. I got tired of continually feeding Insta- at some point you're going to get over it aren't you, it's a fad. It's awful having people get nasty about skill, talents and passions I've taken years to develop and master, but that's half the problem with these things- there's no history or continuity given, and for me, once I put my account onto private to combat this negativity, the whole point of it is useless- it's no longer a collection available for people around the world to be inspired by.
That shit is just scary.
Insta, ya made me feel like when I stoped smoking cigarettes. I loved smoking, still very occasionally do, but back then I remember the price had just got hiked to over $20NZD a pack of 20's, all the gorgeous gold embossed packaging had been subjected to government standards with heinous photos of lungs with cancerous tumors and photos of smokers teeth, and I woke up one day and I was just over having to always find a lighter. I was leaving the house and I couldn't find my fags and paraphernalia. That was it, I'd faded out. It had gone from being a sexy subversive pastime to being a chore.
Instagram was similar- it's so nice to be back to being in the moment. Making gorgeous food and taking a breath to be thankful rather than setting up the plates to photoshoot. Watching the sunset with my buba in arms rather than running around trying to find my partner's phone with the better camera. Watching a gig rather than watching it through a lens. Visualising and caring about what I like, rather than being intrigued by who 'liked'.
That's the fascinating thing about the human condition to be intent; to be purposeful; to be dedicated; to be passionate; to be addicted; we can choose, we can redirect our choices and through this grow in the manners we so decide.
Growth for these new generations means working through an increasing amount of lies, untruths, misguided information and people making a buck. It is no longer about finding information as such, my daughter's generation is going to need highly refined skills about how to filter and block out things they don't want impacting upon their psyche, waylaying them academically or potentially hurting them- either by others or more sadly through themselves and their esteem, identities and spirits. They will need to be intently selective about where they want to go and what they need to get there.
Over the last few months I got rather crafty and crochet'd Adira jumpers, jackets and booties.
I loved doing it so much I'm now taking orders! email@example.com
(above) - 'Minxy Matinee', Black NZ merino, 0-3 months.
Everything else pales in comparison.
Undoubtably my most incredible collaborative masterpiece- the beautiful Adira Isla, (formerly known as 'Glinkle'!).
My partner and I are so very exited to announce we are expecting! Undoubtably the most involved, detailed and creative masterpiece I have ever collaborated on- we are so excited to meet our wee girl, nicknamed 'Glinkle' in late March/ early April.
The first four months of my pregnancy were rather challenging with intense 'morning' (ahem- lol, more like all day!) sickness. My empathy and compassion is deep and unreserved for women who experience this either briefly or for much more extended periods- it can be extremely challenging times making a human!
My incredible partner is an angel. I actually cannot articulate how much his love and support has been unwavering and all encompassing during these bumpy patches; I am so blessed to share my life with a man of such integrity, kindness, and compassion... not to mention creativity! These last few weeks have provided an opportunity for his creative skills to flourish- in particular, masterpieces created out of my favourite fruit kiwifruit!
As our gift to you this silly season, we share the giggles and joy from these artworks. May they inspire and make you laugh. Press play and please click on the individual photos- the titles are as hilarious as the creations.
For daily postings and the stories that go with the titles, follow me at @moenamoxham
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and the very sparkliest of wishes for 2018!
💚 🥝 💚 🥝💚🥝💚🥝💚🥝💚🥝💚🥝💚🥝💚🥝💚🥝💚🥝 💚 🥝 💚
Space travel, exploration, astrophysics, engineering and astrology are topics of knowledge and fields of development which are very close to my heart. I've always been fascinated with what's above and beyond and how things work.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen highlights of these passions in my trips to observatories, planetariums and recently to NASA in Cape Canaveral. It's also what drives my passion for flying, aviation and adventure.
Living in New Zealand allows me a luxurious and accessible view to the Milky Way. The night skies are clear enough in my beloved hometown of Wellington to see this; the stars, planets and other occurrences with the naked eye. A rare privilege for a city within a developed nation. Over my life I have seen meteor showers, comets, total eclipses, amazing alignments of the planets and on more than one occasion the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights. An hour out of town to the Wairarapa or Kapiti Coast expands upon these depths with low light pollution. Go further afield down South to the beautiful Lake Tekapo area in the Mackenzie district; a world heritage sight because of it's clean night skies, and you will find a place where it is impossible for the mind not to be enraptured with 'what if's', 'how's' and other questions about our world, ourselves and our place within the universe. Declared the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve by the International Dark-Sky Association, it is one of only four such reserves around the world.
Astrology to me is mesmerising. The simple (& immensely complicated) detail that whatever we see is past information really blows my mind. Any image no longer exists because of the nature of time, movement & space. Even the minuscule processing time of seeing an image and our brain flipping it means that once we comprehend it, it's not in the same order, space or position it was- although to us this feels instantaneous. We look at the stars, but we are actually looking at the past. It takes light years for those glinkes to reach our eyeballs. Our concepts, our snapshots of our world are working in retrospect.
What we have discovered and what we can see now delves past our galaxy- 'The Milky Way' and down two arms of this out through deep space. At this stage we believe we can only see in two directions from our galaxy, the other two are obscured by another arm of The Milky Way and the suspected black hole at the centre. We can now 'see' back and out to the edge to the remnants of what we suspect started all of it- 'The Big Bang' 💥... or that's what we have theorised so far.
Back to the beginning- we are looking back to the beginning, but our hypothesises are based on past information. We have a glimpse of what was, what potentially things looked like- but we really have a very small understanding of exactly what is right now.
Here's a philosophical nutcracker- It's a fascinating conundrum to ponder the following concept: if everything we see is past, and the further we look the older it is, when we turn that around then the only concept of future lies within us, within our visions and within our dreams. Is it absurd to believe that our conceptualisations are more alive than snapshots of memories?
It's extremely exciting stuff as of now in 2017 with the race for commercial space investment in full swing with private companies and entrepreneurs jostling to be the first to get more (wo)men and sustainable technology onto the Moon, to Mars and to develop and sustain orbiting habitable spaces. The world's fist trillionaires will come from these feats and although these endeavours are entrancing the minds of millions and are promoted as advancing the development of humanity- there is a much darker side to the realities of what these pursuits mean also. Since the beginning of explorations and migrations we have wanted to advance our race; to exchange, to mingle, to find new resources and to make money and sell things.
The main reason for getting to the Moon, Mars & capture meteorites is to mine for their resources. Helium-3 gas exists under the surface of the Moon- this is the missing puzzle piece in nuclear fusion- the holy-tamoli of energy technology that humans have been trying to master for decades. ((See a fav movie of mine Particle Fever for info about CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research). A place where physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter- the fundamental particles and the effects of nuclear fusion.)) There are other magnificent things to learn and developments that will happen because of these discoveries and inquiries, yet have no misunderstanding of what the big hitters are financing, particularly from the private funding arena; why they are investing billions of their mega bucks- it ain't primarily for peace… but rather prosperity.
Peace and prosperity… it’s an alluring paradox. For prosperity requires us to find things to continue feeding our needs for energy, consumption and financial gain; conflict and war circles around a lot of these endeavours. Peace.. living in harmony with the Earth and not exploiting her; ‘living within means’ contradicts the very meaning of fortune, profitability and wealth.
Have we not learnt our lessons!? Some shout, those who can settle for enough are a minority and increasingly so- with more information, with more things to see to want, we are increasingly wanting to be wealthy and prosperous. Big money is not made by projects that fundamentals lie in 'living within means'. Are we hell bent on exploiting every natural resource that comes to our reach? Can we never preserve anything that comes within our grasp?... I would have to agree in the truth to this. Even if the average person agrees with ecological preservation, or in at least trying to sustain where we are now without doing cataclysmic increased damage- they are overshadowed by corporations and ventures given authority and rights to create disproportionate payoffs. Just by the nature of our ever increasing global population, we are creating more heat, we are using more things, we want more stuff…
Energy takes fuel. We use stuff to go forwards- both biologically and by the nature of propulsion and keneticism. It's ironic that we go so far back in this process. Our choices of how to go forwards; Aotearoa in my opinion is making stupid decisions trying to keep up with the ‘Big Hitters’ and failing to take stock of who and what we really are, honestly seeing our deficits and recognising our strengths- there are powerful things about being smaller and isolated, we aren’t playing to any of these. We are going forwards with ideas which don't have reverence to our special situations.
There are things that Kiwis can do at ground zero- one is a rather simple thing really- employ our people; value ourselves and our skills and not replace roles with technology. I was horrified last week to walk into my doctors office to find an automated check-in kiosk. On the way out there was a pad with four different smily face options for me to hit and ‘rate’ my experience. ‘They’re replacing you?’ I asked the receptionist, ‘oh, not really, we’re just testing them out, but we’d prefer you use them’, she said to me, ‘I’d rather not thanks, I like a real human, and I like you to remain employed also’ I said back to her. ‘I’m not participating in that crap (referring to the experience rating) either’ I said pointing to the face-box, ‘If I feel the need to tell you how I feel, I’ll talk to you about it.’ Check out of the self serve's, the kiosks, the automated recording- vote for a live human I say... and also as a side note- that bloody emoji thing isn't even made here- it's from the US! These budget cuts don't trickle down to the consumer- if I got a discount for using these services I would be a little warmer toward them, but the patron's prices keep going up and the corporations keep absorbing the cream.
We're obsessed with knowing how to do things and we're getting fixated with everyone's opinions about these ways when in reality we just have to dig in and get going; the process expands and reveals itself along the way. I really don't like the subtext to these things too that technological ease gives the consumer a better feel good boost than having to deal with another human- rather clinical isn't it... the irony wasn't missed on me that this example was in a doctor's rooms. With more prevalence of a compulsion for information, we must restrain our obsessive impulses and let go and trust with a positive disposition to have faith in a forward direction. We need to not be scared of conflict or people not always agreeing. No. that's right, I won't be asking for your feel good factor after reading my blogs soz.
Why with such a small population do we think employing these replacements are a good thing; we don't have the populations size like overseas to support them without harm. These tech's don't encourage people to have to confront others and deal with conflict or their emotions, it's removing roles for employment within our communities, and, back to my last post, again it doesn’t have anything to do with ‘ease of service’ or better procedures, it’s about lowering costs and cutting financial corners. We are mad if we are compliant to these manoeuvres. Humans need jobs, we need things to do, we need purpose and we need opportunities DESPERATELY in NZ as it is, why in fuck would we want to diminish all of these qualities both humane and commercial? Here we go again for another round of guinea pig test theories on our communities- re: previous post and Eftpos.
I'm sure the average New Zealander is completely unaware of the rocket launches that will be taking off from the Mahia Peninsular or of the incredible NZ scientists, engineers, astrologers and astrophysicists who have made world first discoveries and revolutionary developments over the decades which have shaped our understandings of our universe, and been fundamental in where we now stand as global citizens in space technologies. William Pickering - central figure and pioneer of NASA space exploration, Beatrice Tinsley - astronomer and cosmologist, Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson - scientist and winner of the 1908 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Roy Kerr - who proved a solution to Einstein's equations which modelled a spinning black hole are just a couple of (major) mention.
I'm intrigued to what community consultation was made by Rocket Lab? ... as I remember correctly we had a national highway diverted as it crossed the path of the Taniwha. We are the First Nation in the world to give a river the same rights as a human and we have special laws protecting our foreshores… but rockets blasting off are ok eh? Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled being a space geek- but it really fascinates me what gets public airtime and how agendas play out…
I loved seeing that James Cameron is one of the biggest backers behind Planetary Resources. Their main goal is to mine the Moon. A little contradictory to your public image innit James? All clean green and protecting the environment yet your happy to go to another celestial body and pillage theirs? Planetary Resources recently acquired Asterank- their website offers scientific data (mass, composition etc) and projects the economic value of mining more than 600,000 asteroids. It's common place these days for investors to have a foot in each side, but make sure they predominantly publicise their good intent. Actually it’s naive to think that many cutting edge developments would work without philanthropy... that goes to my own also! It's also a righteous position to be cynical considering what private investment is doing for both sides of the coin- we can't make things without investment. A world without philanthropy would be a dark and dingy world indeed… or some more ruthless might say, money has no face and no name.
Light & dark, good & bad- this is the dichotomy of human nature- we are not all designed to want to help, neither to be frugal- by the nature of this, it's actually when we see detrimental things happening that we are encouraged to design counteractions and we want these to be successful. One must also keep in mind, what we perceive as bad another sees as good and vica versa. We can be the change we want to see, we can invest ourselves into projects with conviction and passion, and we can make a difference but utilising and embracing that word 'action' in every form, but rat on about ‘stopping globalisation’ or ’halting consumerism’ is knitting things in the wrong direction if you ask me.
There is one outcome which is always certain- remain complacent and un-empowered and nothing will change. I recommend picking at least something to dooo.. even if it’s teeny, but hey, thats a choice also.
In amongst other incredible projects I am currently in the middle of creating my new exhibition and collection of artworks. I’m excited about what is brilliant, I follow energies and people who are associated with things that tug my heart strings, ignite my imagination and make me feel fulfilled, valued and energised. I like to do things that make myself and others feel good and that hopefully lay the foundations for positive and virtuous choices for those to follow.
It’s a magnificent, complicated and ginormous world out there, we are really so tiny in the big scheme of things it can be monumentally overwhelming and defeating. But I find something of a release within these revelations- I want to fill my teeny tiny time here with cool shit.. and I like to dig out the 'feat' in defeating. I like to encourage myself and my loved ones around me to invest our spirits & expertise into projects & developments with conscience and foresight; not just for us, but for who will come next. Initially these things may not make changes on a global scale, but on a personal and community level we can make improvements and amendments… and it’s amazing what ‘little’ things can accumulate to become bigger movements- NZ we have made many of these in our past, lets make sure we make them in our future!
‘Merica; Land of the Free… and I’ll warrant the tempted and hungry. More on that later.
Polite, kind, supportive, invested, honest, open and truthful get-up-and-goers- ‘Mericans tickle me pink. My friends here are fun, and they indulge their inner children. I love that. There is an abundance of genuine pleasantries in the United States. Doors are held open, I hear ‘thank you’s’, ‘please’s’, ‘Ma’am’s, ‘Sir’s’ and other kindnesses. I have conversations on the street corner, I stop and am invited into occurrences in passing, I am welcomed into people’s homes, businesses and places of recreation and gatherings with affection; and I experience hospitality the way it used to be. Traditional, yes, Sir, ‘Merica is traditional; it’s really refreshin’.
It has also put into perspective how unique and diverse our family systems are in Kiwiland- we are quite avant-guard in comparison to other Western countries; we are much more unorthodox than most realise; aaand because of misinformation broadcast to us by the powers that be, it’s no wonder we have an identity crisis and lack solidarity. Our collective identity as ‘New Zelanders’ is fractured into ethnic groups and a screaming class system. We are can be very modern, we can be very relaxed in some aspects, but we are also very divisive. We have outdated impressions, stereotypical media ones and misappropriated governmental ones. I don't think as a collective we really know who or what we are or where we want to go as a group.
New York City; one of my favourite cities, you are just a small stop on this adventure. Predominantly I have been in Florida, in Long Island and now upstate New York; Duchess County. MYYY GAWWD that last one has enraptured me. An myyyy GAWWD am I thankful to be back for a reprise in the provinces. This US experience has given me a much different perspective on the Untied citizens- and one which has made me happy with a new appreciation for this population.
It’s a different side to ‘Merica that I see this time around. It was fourteen years ago I was last here- a whipper snapper let loose in New York city for two and a half weeks to experience the Art World, visit famous galleries and meet with established and famous creatives. A lot has changed. My adventure in 2003 was 2 1/2 years after the September 11th massacre. But rather than sadness there was a great amount of hope, a huge amount of fizz and a lot of passion directed to going forwards and recovering from what had happened.
New York was LOUD- and really fuckin sassy- it was my kinda place at that point. It’s a much quieter city now 14 years later; actually shockingly so. It feels muzzled to me, unfortunately it kinda feels a little more like any other big city. People are plugged in; with headphones and necks bent their energies are directed internal and overwhelmingly down. There is much less chatter, there is no honking of the cabs and the mega corporations have squeezed out family owned businesses. There is a feeling.. a funny feeling of loss. That big city ache yeah, ya see it in peoples faces, ya can feel it in the air. The high’s are bigger here, but the low’s equally cavernous. Cities have a way of amplifying emotion and experience; they can be the best of places and they can be Hell on Earth- it can be a dog-eat-dog kinda world out there with a very small buffer zone. I felt last time that was moderated by people’s expressions and authenticity of behaviour. New Yorkians told it like it was. That release valve of an outburst seemed to put a place to natural order- it legitimised the complexities of living in this rat-race and lattice of high-rises. Now without this presence, it has been replaced with a simmer, with a glare. This aside, it’s addictive, a sensory explosion and a place of indulgence for the intellect, the mind and the pocket.
I’m nostalgic?- perhaps, sometimes the stories which are woven are not always of light and laughter. It can be confronting what we can see if we are able to make comparisons. Unfortunately, it is one of the sadder parts of travel I find, seeing what was and what now is; making comparisons with how things were and how they now are… maybe that’s why I’m always going places I haven't before. Familiarity makes my perspective of digging deep to look as with child’s eyes; with wonder and amusement, a little more complex. Sometimes, it can be a battle not to be jaded- it takes a lot of work to choose to look for the good in places without comparison to the past.. a technique well utilised upon ourselves and others as they grow also.
Being a motobabe; driving and riding around the world, gives me a huge amount of experience within different culture’s driving styles and systems. America is fair with a rather accurate assessment of safe speeds to drive on their roads. Or perhaps this is explained better from the other end. In NZ, our corners are marked a particular speed. A skilled driver knows that at times they can be taken 10 or 20km faster than this with correct road positioning, acceleration and condition appraisal. It doesn’t build a sense of faith within the transport system when you know the information being provided to you is inaccurate or overly cautious. Cars are being built safer, to handle greater speeds, and humans are more skilled and trained drivers.
Overseas countries (in particular Italy) takes these considerations into account within their infrastructures. There are toll roads which allow those who want to travel at higher speeds the luxury to do so, there is ‘margin of error’ accounted for within measuring speeds, there is acceptance within drivers to keep right to let others pass if they want to. There is an educated and mature approach to human process i.e. excellerating out of a corner or overtaking another vehicle, and, thus an educated and mature approach to speeding infringements. E.g 4km (2.4 miles) over the speed limit is not warrant for a $60 fine. Adjacent to another project of mine, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to talk with a Sherif about the strategies and systems they employ over here in New York to uphold standards yet be fair within them. * I’ll have ya note I’m not writing this because I have a problem with tickets- I’ve never been issued a speeding ticket by a police officer, I like fairness and I'm not a fan of people being set up to fail. Anxiety can be personally crippling, but it also causes other obstructions.
As a motorcyclist it is immensely dangerous to be nervous or panicky about being 4km over the limit. Doing stupid reactions like slamming ones brakes on after seeing a cop or camera can have catastrophic repercussions- plus it’s totally useless, they’ve already got you on radar by the time you see them- however it's not going to win you point by not shaving off that speed- it's about unfair margins. It’s not great being behind a car which decides to do shock braking either- I always have a large following distance precisely for these occurrences and because more time, gives one more space for reaction.. to annnything.
Travellers to NZ, be warned of ‘zero tolerance’. Perhaps we should look a this in a broader context eh.. I would argue we have a rather ‘zero tolerance’ to a lot of things.
Here’s a controversial one for you. We are getting more access, experience and training within cars which are engineered for better handling and have more advanced safety features. With more people travelling internationally, and more people being exposed to driving in different environments we are all become increasingly confident and skilled, each generation improving upon the former. Why are our systems not taking this is into consideration? Why is there excessive moderation? These slogans about ‘speed kills’ are not entirely true- there are many states here in America where the speed limit has been slowly increased (75mph/ 120km.. and even up to 85mph/ 137km) with no increase in fatalities. In the US and other countries I have visited, there is an emphasis on monitoring and improving routes, roads and freeways; in NZ we upgrade infrastructure but we lack a reassessment of the quality of these new resources. Or another way to look at it is that we cater to the lowest denominator- the 1989 Corolla with no so good braking... There are many cultures around the world where people are given the respect to develop their talents and opportunity to take responsibility for them. Ok, I’m going to prod the stick further for the sake of it- You know those boy racers- instead of fining them and taking away the things they love why not offer them an opportunity to up-skill and go track?.. Out there? Well there are places where we are giving addicts a place to shoot up, providing them with needles and a nurse incase they overdose (NY, Melbourne come to mind).. bit backwards isn't it if you support one demographic excelling at a choice yet not another…
Here in the US there are new cameras at intersections. Flashing for infringements, particularly at night, they can give ya an awful fright. Even after one knows they are there, they’re really unnerving. It’s startling, it breaks your concentration and it doesnt make anyone a better driver. Again, being nervous, edgy and fearful is counterproductive to any human in any situation. With the increases in GPS navigation, the erratic nature of people’s driving by taking directions has hit a new high in my experience also... I raise my hand to doing a precariously executed one of these in a car recently myself. I preempt you making a last minute turn cos ya’ve overshot the intersection buddy.. I empathise- it’s ok, I try to have that generous following distance to allow for erratic incidences. It’s not a catastrophic event if we miss the route- there’s a thing called ‘re-route’, oh, and there’s those old skool things called ‘signs’ and ‘sense of direction’. What’s going to happen to us without training this facet of intuition?… strangely when one thing is lost another thing grows- I'm intrigued with what this will be.
It can be fun to be lost, and I can guarantee you, Google doesn't give you the cool back routes with funky ass shyit off the main track yo. Useful for getting from A-B yes, great for people with physical and mental difficulties, anxiety issues and a plethora of other situations- but for Joe Smith? Short term benefit v long term lack of developed skill is an interesting concept to ponder. As is learning the harder option then having the easier as a back up plan. The only way to overcome anxiety and nervous disorders is to decompartmentalise the problems and chip away at them by calmly evaluating whether the panic is justified. I hate seeing things which just make this more difficult for us.
ALL of the above is totally trivial and pathetic when it is placed next to the big issues that NZ really needs to get it's teeth into. Issues which are hidden, repressed and rarely given airtime or promoted by the government (or our communities) as fundamentals that need to be fixed and assessed. Highest infant mortality rates in the developed world, highest suicide rates in the developed world, children born of incest, domestic violence, inflated and extreme cost of living, three times the cost of anywhere else in the world to build housing, lack of housing, excessive taxes and rates and a quality of life which is low. Pathetic levels of remuneration, no appreciation for skill, corrupt business and law standards, grossly polluted waterways and land and severely behind in keeping up with new eco standards. LOOOOW and poor. Not the 'clean green' or super amazing we tell the population or advertise ourselves as at all. Oh and as a side note- a democracy is not supposed to be a duopoly- swinging back between two major parties which are only regurgitating the same bullshit year in year out will NOT ever change things.
Humm, I need to changed the topic; If we want to talk in a sense of experience and training. The former being shown something, the latter being given the tools to undertake that skill further we could bring in this example; the Dunning Kruger effect. The more we can help people recognise positive skills then they can develop these. The more we can give people direction, purpose and opportunity to develop their passions, the more likely they are to find their skillsets.
Dunning and Kruger proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:
1 tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
2 fail to recognise genuine skill in others;
3 fail to recognise the extremity of their inadequacy;
4 recognise and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they are exposed to training for that skill.
Basically this states that;
The more you know, the less competent you think you are because you know there is so much you don’t know.
The less you know, the more you think you know because you don’t know what you don’t know.
There is no shortcut , there is so much you don’t know without experience.
E.g it's taken me years to hone my skills as a motorcyclist. From originally riding a trike, to a bicycle, to being a pillion, to owning increasingly powerful motorbikes, to now owning a high performance racing bike. But in order to do this, I firstly learned by observation, participated through many stages of learning at different skill levels and then continuing to up-skill and learn as a rider. I took and I take advanced rider corses, I learn about the mechanics and physics of machines and I interact with seasoned riders, racers and enthusiasts. None of this is finite, I am always learning, I am always seeking.
That's one side of the coin, the other is the Dude or Dudette who fronts up with the cash and buys a high performance machine and feels they can do the same thing that I can without any experience or training. In other words, they don't know what they don't know, a dangerous situation and an accident waiting to happen.
We can use this example in driving a vehicle, we could use this for making art, we could use this in understanding the finer details of human relationship, of astronomy & astrophysics, of medicine... the list is endless. Our conceptualisations are totally relative to our perceptions and current knowledge. Fundamentals of base theories are just ideas that have consensus. The most critical part of Dunning and Kruger theory is that incompetent people 'fail to recognise genuine skill in others'. This happens with employers, this happens with friends and peers... this happens with family, this happens with criticisms upon things that are radical or unconventional. It's at the kernel of 'Tall Poppy Syndrome'... it is incredibly detrimental to growth and performance from any viewpoint.
It's also a fascinating effect that by it's nature comes hand-in-hand with being adventurous, exploring new things and taking risks. Bit of a mind bending balancing act aint it! For if one doesn't have courage and balls to push the envelope past what is established (either personal or external) then one would never find out what they don't know; if one dosen't have experience then one cannot ever be faced with ones incompetencies or shortfalls. Here's where an injection of humility is useful. In New Zealand, an island nation insulated from direct influence and moderation from neighbours (our closest one we have come to hate as the wealthier bigger brother who left us behind) there is a breeding ground for people to hold insensible ideas without being moderated by close interaction or having ease of access to experiences which show up insensibilities. NZ has laws unto it's own which although may seem on the surface to be like other places, are not; bullying, corporate mentality and oppressive tyrannical conduct is commonplace both in personal and professional spheres. As a society we are static, complacent, lack any faith in leadership, naively dutiful and lead by false information. If we keep our head buried in the sand thinking we know everything and thing's are ok; acting superior and arrogant in our assumptions, we are going to become further disillusioned, further alienated from how the rest of the world is progressing, more discontent and feel only envy. Jealousy is at the root to a lot of what is simmering in Kiwiland- when are we going to have the courage to admit this and deal with it?
Our teeny kiwi guniea pig society gets subjected to all sorts of hair brained schemes. Often completely out of our control. Someone has a great new idea, and NZ becomes the testing ground for it. It’s not by accident that we are at the forefront of technological integration- take the implementation of Eftpos for example. We have had card cash since 1985 when The Bank of New Zealand started rolling it out in petrol stations. Pull out cold hard chachinga to pay in Aotearoa and people assume it’s from illegitimate means or you're a drug dealer because people have become so conditioned to this method- the rest of the world ain’t so unguarded towards those big banks and ‘Big Brother’s’.. neither am I. It makes me angry that because of our relative isolation and docile societal temperament we have our liberties of choice narrowed. It’s much harder to coerce a bigger population into doing a particular method by removing established practices to leave only one or two options. I could trickle into discussing the prevalence of duopolies and market cornering here too… thankfully our population is also small enough to sustain a counter-act to some of this, with boutique markets and a DIY mindset... and we are ingenious, enterprising and creative- but we're loosing the capacity to be like this because we are so repressed by the cost of living, pissed about what we are 'made to do' and bitchy to each other. It concerns me immensely how unnecessary restrictions are being enforced upon New Zealander’s liberties- and for those who choose less popular ones they are faced with inferences of shadiness. It's hard to have an open minded view point when you're living in a closed mind world.
Money in itself is a funny thing in NZ- it's not loved, its not encouraged and it is shrouded in inferences that if you are good at making it you must be corrupt. Especially if you do so outside established systems i.e a 9-5 or one 'job title'. These restrictions; these often invisible parameters, as with diet, as with behaviour, as with social repression or idealism only creates additional problems, and when it all boils down, societal systems are never really in place for ‘safety’ or for ‘protection’ they are there to gather revenue.
The most detrimental of these was the introduction of Tourism to NZ. It is only recently I have realised how much this has damaged our country. It is the local who has paid the price for how we have sold ourselves out to the world. We whored our land like pimps, raping Mother Nature and the unique New Zealand culture for the pennies in others pockets. The cost of living increased, the scramble for resources increased, our genuine desire to meet with other cultures dropped and it has become about revenue, hold out ya hand for more revenue… but this didn't help out the little guy. We failed to implement procedures to gather moolie form travellers as they entered the country or locations of significance i.e. Queenstown and so to make money the prices of basics and infrastructure was hiked. I’d be surprised if the average NZd’r would even consider travelling down that way anymore- it’s extremely expensive for a NZD earner to stay there because the accomodation, food and activities are out of proportion to what people can earn. If there is no fee for foreigners to see our amazing culture and sights, then it is gathered from the incidentals; food, accom, basic transport infrastructure etc- but this just additionally penalises the local who also has to pay the jumped up prices yet isn't earning foreign currency.
Who are places for if not for the people who look after them and give their lives and love to sustaining them?
There is an exotic location I have been scoping out. There are a limited amount of tourists allowed in the country at one time. There is a $250 USD (at peak season, $200 off season) fee PER DAY for being in the country. You are only allowed to travel on pre-approved tours with licensed guides and in particular areas of the country. You are charged a ‘foreign national fee’ for entering places of religious and environmental significance and there are two prices, one for local, one for visitor. Fair deal if you ask me (although I agree this example is on the steeper side), how badly do you want to do something? How much do you value it? If it’s a ‘meh’ to either of those, don't go. If you like what they have, or if you would like to see it in person, then find a way to dig deep and pay for this luxury. NZ we were desperate, we let our leaders sell us out because we didn't know better and now WE are paying the price. We were scared to hold ourselves with integrity, we were scared of ‘loosing out’ and now we are at deficit to the choices and strategies that were implemented. This must change. We need to look after NZ and put our people first with first opportunity. We have all the behaviours of a dysfunctional family- we can do better than this.
Below is an informative video, given to me today just before publishing this bog post. It is from a man I greatly respect, it shoots from the hip with eye opening statistics and it talks about topics close to my heart from a similar perspective.
… ok, I’m metaphorically going back to the U.S. of A.
Food. Food here is BIIIIG. Always has been in my experience; in mass and in obsession. Yet, there is SO much misleading information and it is extremely hard to eat well through all this temptation. I love a doggy bag though cheers ‘Merica- yet sometimes with all this stuff in-front of me, it can be hard to remember that it’s not totally necessary to have to finish it all in one go.
The billboards, the places, the signages, the overflow of fast food drive-though outlets, the misleading labels, the constant calorie numbers on menus.. it’s a minefield. Originally those calorie numbers came from the litigation culture here, but it now encourages a much more unhealthy obsession. Humans should be encouraged to eat well rounded not by numbers- it can only end up in people feeling resentful and unfulfilled. A little of what you like does you good- or everything in moderation yeah?
Here’s a few truths. Eating fat does not make you fat. I.e. eating a high calorie meal at the right time with whole food fats and produce is NOT bad for you. Low calorie foods will send you crazy with the chemicals in them trying to trick your mind and metabolism into thinking you have food love. The more food stuff ya see, the more any human is going to feel hungry- that’s a basic primal reaction; billboards, driving past outlets, reading cook books, or advertisements online, on telly or just ON everywhere. The nutrients within a particular fruit or whole food need all the other bits to be ingested properly and to absorb the vitamins within- i.e the whole raspberry has all sorts of goodies in it as the whole thing- it’s not the same benefits when the vitamins or elements within a product are separated out and added into something completely different. Feeling ‘bad’ about eating a treat food, or something hi cal does a huge amount of damage to a person- this only makes one feel they have ‘failed’ at eating well, or have ‘fallen off the bandwagon’ by doing something incorrect. If an entire nation is encouraged to drive everywhere, it ain’t gunna encourage a person to get out and walk to get their produce and meals AAAAAND my fuck; Eggs with added hormones to make harder shells??! Milk with additives left right and centre (read the fine-print) scary flavoured creamer… Bread with added sugar (everything with added sugar.. check out some of those chemical names #wolfinsheepsclothing), Chicken breast the length of 1/2 my forearm *largest chook I’ve ever seen- hey Arnie the Chiketo… Hummus with added sweeties and food colourings.. fresh juice? Bet you it aint…
Here's a fact- sugar makes you hungry. Sugar in anything makes you crave more. Sugar is mostly unnecessary in our diets except in moderation through fresh fruit and other natural places, as it aids digestion. At times of illness, pregnancy and other unusual instances it can be very helpful- but for Joe Average it's totally not needed within the products we see through foodstuff manufacting. Going ‘gluten free’- umm, well what they replace those ingredients with is… Sugar was designed and is programmed primally within us to make us gorge. Fact. It’s not something an intellect can override. Adding it into an empty tummy is like setting off a panic to your metabolism. “Feed meee"… “feed meee anything” it will cry. Add it in moderation, infrequently and at the right times i.e.- within a balanced meal and it wont feel so much like shooting up. The less ya have it, the less it appeals, and after a rather small amount of time, it really does icky stuff to you if you do have it i.e- the shakes, temple migraines, that erratic sweaty eyeball feeling.. just kind of grossness really.
Therapeutic dose- it’s medical terminology referring to when the use of a substance benefits the user in the short term. Take any chemical addition into the body past this point; either natural or synthetic in form and it will have become a poison.
Big deal? It is to those of us who these additives (sugar, colouring, preservatives, I would say even all these ‘good extras’ e.g. protein, calcium, etc) set off chemical reactions where they compel us to seek more food love, to try to fill ourselves up or which create reactions, sensitivities and allergies to some demographics. There are those of us who additionally have an emotional reaction to chemicals, both natural and synthetic.. more and more I am finding out this also has something to do with hormonal fluctuations. For others, food is simply fuel, but I think more and more we are seeing prevalence in the former examples; those who perceive food as fuel most certainly are a minority. I think some of us unconsciously like to be jacked around by sensations more than others, and this capacity, when out of balance has the propensity to lead us into also sorts of temptations and experiences.
It’s at times like this when I’m travelling that I get twangs of longing for NZ… ‘Merica does it to me and so does Japan- it’s a sugar minefield over there. I get to a point where I miss clean air and less of this crap. I am so thankful for a lesser level of this infiltration at home. But it is there- the star ratings, the calorie lists, the ‘health food’ stands.. it’s all a creapin’ in and it’s all marketing peps. They don't give a fuck about your health- they care about your moolie. It’s fads and quick ‘fixes’… actually they are long term muck ups cos they really are just a waste of time and emotion. The mega corporations (although once in a while are taaaasty!) are filled with preservatives, fillers, fake ingredients and additives- by taking out Mr & Mrs local corner shop who is making meals from scratch and smaller quantities, we again have less access to whole produce and more access to chemicals. Nothing but three healthy meals a day with limited sugar, balanced green, fibre, carbs, fats and whole protein will sustainably do the trick for a healthy diet and weight balance in my experience. Aiming for some number? If you're doing this and it’s not the magic bingo… well then honeybee that’s not what you are supposed to be. Wouldn't you rather be glowy and happy than skinny and miserable? Do I eat shit? of course! I love food!- all varieties of food and I get the most enormous F.O.M.O (fear of missing out) if I don't have what I want or crave, but I’m careful about timing, I’m careful about portions, I’m aware of my mental state, who I am with and trigger stress related situations, and I try to not internally berate and then punish myself. Did three lifetimes worth of that in a past life- didn't get me anywhere. I need what I like, life’s too short to miss out. If I can be in an environment where I am not constantly attacked with this barrage I am a much, much happier human. Plus, the more one is worried about food, the more intense it is. If we are relaxed and at ease with it, ‘treats’ don't = ‘freaks’.... yep cheezy but true.
It’s on those notes, and by escaping that barrage that I am thankful and privileged to be currently upstate in New York. With the Hudson river close by, the open big clear sky, the sounds of the birds, fresh grass, big trees and open paddocks. It’s heaven, it’s my heaven being back in the countryside and near moving water. City life? It’s my thing for short bursts, but my happy place is of vistas green, gold, blue and pale pale eggshell. I grew up with this luxury of city to country, and it is within these juxtapositions that I love and adore them each for their own benefits, for both environments teach me appreciation for the other. If you have no measure stick, no comparison, how are you to ever know what is so wonderful or valuable about a particular thing, place, person or experience?
There is so much opportunity within larger populations. There are so many more people of ‘kind’ to find and share similar concepts and thoughts with, there are so many more people available who see the worth in creativity, creative investment, supporting ambitious dreams and projects of desire which sometimes have no other purpose than just being fucking cool things to do. There is a societal infrastructure which loves success in America and it truly is a place where you can chisel a spot for yourself doing something rather unusual and have a customer base to support it. There is love for doing things that make you happy, helping each other get there, and finding a way to maintain being there for an extended period.
Lets say, in addition there is the capacity for longer periods in the limelight… or at least a self made glow. In NZ this can become brief and rather unsustainable. It is also why a lot of us become very good at many things, because time on top is not continuously feasible for long, because there isn't really anything up there except for your head above a parapet lined with daggers and disesteem, unlike here, there is minimal support. There is a bulletproof ceiling of ‘fair remuneration’ and and even more repressive one that implies one should ‘be thankful for ones job or opportunity as is’. It is not the physical reality of getting to the top of your profession which is the hardest- it is the phycological barrage which is so damaging, depleting and exhausting.
A child growing up in the states might have a higher statistic of being shot in a drive by, but the chances of them taking their own life by suicide or having other emotional, mental and spiritual problems are faaaaar higher in Aotearoa. Keep in mind- there are only 4 million of us in comparison also.
Under one UNICEF heading, 'Ensuring Health and Well-Being', NZ country was placed 38th place out of 41. (41 being the worst measuer). This also covered indicators such as the neonatal mortality rate and the teenage birth rate. The comments about adolescent suicide were particularly damning. The report found New Zealand had the worst rate in the world at 15.6 per 100,000 people in the designated age bracket (15-19). This was substantially higher than the next worst countries, Lithuania, Finland, Chile and Ireland, and more than eight times worse than the best performing countries, Italy and Portugal. It was twice as bad as the American youth suicide rate and almost five times worse than Britain's.
"Youth suicide is an avoidable reality in New Zealand, but it is not being adequately tackled", mental health experts say. Really? Let me explain something from someone who's been there- it's prevalent in all striations of society and it's entirely linked into the bullying and psychological abuse we subject each other to.
NZ struggles with people in the limelight extensively, I've talked about this before, but I want to say this again, because if we were truthful about what is happening, we can find a way to take the sting out of this and pave a way for next generations to not be subjected to this abuse. Basking in a well deserved glow is seen as hogging it, blowing your trumpet, or preventing others from having their go. Every industry is ruthless at the top- it’s human nature to want to be Top Dog; that inevitably requires a change of guard, but in NZ this mentality is exacerbated by a small population who feels marginalised. Don't get me wrong, New York is ruthless, but there are different types of this, and the variety at home is intensely malicious, rooted in envy, spiteful and incredibly vindictive… in comparsion it’s a logical type of harshness here. At home people think there is not as much to go around -or there is a greater perception of lack. This creates a lower tolerance towards people who seem to ‘sit pretty’, or even those that are ambitious and determined to achieve their goals; and a culture that lacks integrity and courage to stand and support parties in conflict or dissent. People are way too invested in other people's business also and where their lifestyles come from- it's always so refreshing for me to be overseas and not have to reply to the stock standard question after 2 minutes of meeting someone of 'what do you do?'. At home you don't find a lot of people courageous enough to put their head on the line for a cause (or a friendship either work or personal) for it affecting future prospects, current prospects, working relationships, social structure or the big one when it really comes down to it.. money. Remuneration honey- money has an evil way of swaying opinion and buying allegiance. NZ deals are not ones where two parties come out winners and walk away happy- there is a winner and there is always a big looser.
Once we have achieved or mastered a situation within a ripple there isn't an automatic pass out card to things being easy or smooth sailing. In my experience as soon as I have felt I've got it sorted, or I am 'sitting pretty' the game changes; I can guarantee I will be thrown a life curveball. In my experience the ripples get more complex, the challenges within them more elaborate, and the skills required to keep going forwards more involved. I am often involved in helping others who are being subjected to different controls, intimidation and bullying and often I find myself advocating for the down trodden or those who are being treated unfairly. Either this 'upping of the stakes' in my life can be self made, or the Universe will kick them in for me.. especially if I have become comfortable or complacent. It can be a pretty horrific environment to live within constantly battling power-plays from all angles in NZ- not a coincidence I like to get out and explore.
I’ll share my understandings about ruthlessness however, it only perpetrates fear and with this in prevalence, there is no freedom of exploration, freedom of expression or the playfulness of invention. There is also becomes much less honesty and openness.
Money does not and never will buy true loyalty. By nature this quality is one built between each other over time. It takes trust, it takes integrity, it take the initiative to work things out between parties face-to-face and it takes the king hitter of all- respect. For a nerdy assessment, this last one is defined in the dictionary as:
re·spect | rəˈspekt/ noun
1 a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements."the director had a lot of respect for Douglas as an actor"
2 synonyms: esteem, regard, high opinion, admiration, reverence, deference, honour "the respect due to a great artist”
Often it is found in abundance in places you may not expect. Places and people who run their own set of rules, not ones dictated to them. Seeming chaos has unspoken rules, so do people who live unorthodox lifestyles, and in my experience their concepts of fairness and estimation are often resolute, instinctive, unwavering and built upon practical knowledge. True respect for another is not illustrated by using someone for self purpose or gain nor using them as a pawn within manipulations or a system; nor putting up with them because they serve a scheme.
Never underestimate the power of human connection. We can soon dismiss an email but it is very hard to forget a person who we’ve dined with, laughed with or spoke in person with- for better or worse impressions. The power of intuition is apparent through interaction; that happens between people not through emails. Intimacy is corporeal; true ‘business’ is intimate. Go for a walk, go for lunch, get on an aeroplane, go try something new.
People make their own minds up about others or situations. Some believe the hype, others their own assumptions. In my experience, humanity likes fantasy; people like to spin stories to inflate their sense of self importance and social standing- they ‘know things’, we’re all guilty of this just by having an opinion. Really at the end of the day, who cares? What another ‘knows’ when dished with cattiness and venom is of no relevance to the bigger picture- one which only the individual can paint, with or without assistance and most brilliantly with positivity.
I like to sleep at night, I have a conscience, and I’ll always defer to that bigger picture and the long game. ‘Conscience’ doesn’t mean goody-two-shoes, it means I’ll stand by my decisions. I’m happy to wait things out, I know the rewards patience and kindness brings, and more importantly how the world has a natural order to righting itself. I shut down on those who threaten my ability to focus on where I am going and try to derail my thoughts. People are special, places are special- I am remorseless in walking away from those who have malicious intent and will ferociously protect my loved ones from those who take pleasure out of spitefully attacking others for self gain.
If we make choices which align with our fundamentals then bravely standing up for our beliefs becomes a simple decision. How someone else perceives these beliefs is up to a plethora of variables- I don't need to be in combat with people about these. We collect our own kind consciously and unconsciously through tribal behaviours, external representation, mannerisms, energies and many other associations and familiarisations and it is a natural part of this that at times we grate upon each other. How we deal with this is the true measure of ones metal- making a remorseless decision doesn’t have to psychologically or physically affect another person- we can simply decide to be honest about our position, disclose this and make actions to disengage. We always have choices toward aligning our sympathies and principles. They take but seconds to implement and some of the most powerful and profound are when choose a ‘no’ rather than a ‘yes’.
🇯🇴 The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 🇯🇴
Civilised, gracious, genteel, cultured, historical, expansive, and sophisticated are only a few of the adjectives that come to mind when I think to describe Jordan and the unrivalled authenticity and kindness of Arab hospitality.
Jordan is chic, and Jordan is very, very special.
Firstly however I would like to personally thank all the magnificent souls who took their time to share with me their energy, knowledge and the wonders of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Arab culture. To His Majesty King Abdullah II and her Majesty Queen Rania. To Eugene deMarco, Her Excellency Lina Annab, Nadine, Mohammad, Ghazi, George, Raja, Hamsa, Samer, the Royal Jordanian Falcons. To the guides, and the fantastic hospitality from the accommodations I stayed… and special mention to Munther for being so immensely accomodating to our last minute changing of plans… tollerance level shinning golden! I was delighted and privileged to have the opportunity to come and discuss business endeavours and creative opportunities with you all. I am thrilled to find Jordanian resources well suited to the projects I have under development and to additionally find these facilitated and supported by like minded passionate individuals with vision; these are unique and valuable circumstances.
🌟🌟 🌟 🌟🌟
Earlier this month I was delighted to be invited to attend a private audience with His Majesty King Abdullah II and Her Majesty Queen Rania. My artwork ‘Mandala’ was purchased as a gift to be presented to the King and Queen.
A mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, lit, circle) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing all existence. In common use, "mandala" has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe. Mandalas often exhibit radial balance.
The term appears in the Rigveda (an ancient Hindu collection of Sanskrit hymns) as the name of the sections of the work, but is also used in other religions and philosophies, particularly Buddhism.
In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space. They are used as an aid to meditation and trance induction.
🌟🌟 🌟 🌟🌟
Before I get on a roll, lets additionally clarify a little of the miss-information floating around about this country and locale though yar. I know first hand what it’s like to be geographically miss-located by association. New Zealand often gets attached to Australia (nooo.. we are not that little island down there- that’s Tasmania) or mysteriously placed up there with Switzerland in Europe (I know… it sounds a little like that doesn’t it lol), Jordan often suffers being lumped in with ‘troubled Middle East’.
It. Is. Not. It’s a forward thinking, safe, developed and delightful culture- quite unique unto it’s own.
It’s tight quarters, with Syria and Lebanon to the North, Iraq to the East, Saudi to the South and Palestine, Israel and Egypt to the West- this area is one of the longest populated anywhere in the world. With artefacts and cultural remnants dating back over 10,000 years, this family has long standing provenance. One, which I would like to point out over those with a mere 150 or 300 years of colonisation; a bit more experience in living together. I balk at the audacity and arrogance of those with less experience and their endless opinions about what is happening in this part of the world- those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones- certainly not at those who have foundations that go back as far as these guys do.
I’ve realised some rather interesting things in my time here in Jordan and they pertain to how we interact and empower each other.
My culture’s conflict has an awful lot of basis in possession. It dawned on me one day in Amman that this really is not the fundamental kernel of what is happening here in the Middle East. Conflict has basis in interpretation; in semantics, in the details of how things are understood- there’s a lot of intellectualisation about particulars.
I was fortunate one afternoon in-between my scheduled meetings to have the opportunity to visit the Jordan Contemporary Art Museum. It followed on to being invited to attend workshop afternoon with visually impaired children and the opening of the museum's latest curation (above). It was here I had a fascinating conversation with an Arabic calligrapher (1st & 2nd photos) about the details of Arabic language. Taken by Burmese in the weeks prior while travelling in Myanmar I had also fallen for Arabic- phonetic sounding/ symbol based recognition languages are my thing. In two days I had accrued the basics but was totally captivated when this man explained to me the following: marks placed above the script can define whether the word or concept is imaginary or literal.
This blew my mind- he went on to discuss with me the formalities of brush strokes, the precise rules applied to the inclination and angles of the marks; the spacing; the thickness of line. Reminiscent of the formalities of Japanese script I was totally and utterly absorbed for two reasons- one, the beauty of the thing in itself and 2, because it gave me insight and perspective to the psychology of how this culture thought and the rules and parameters they feel are apparent within their historical structures.
This meeting also coincided with me finding great similarities in what is considered ‘Contemporary Art’ in older established societies and the techniques these places are using to teach young minds. That afternoon I was able to discuss observations from my travels and my experiences with scholars and those to the learned level of doctorate. Both in India and in Jordan, there are distinct categories of expression which were, and are, considered modern artistry. A derivative Cubist style, a geometric block coloured and textural expression, loose lined sketching, naive illustrative figurative works, poetic form cast in bronze, narrative illustrations upon ceramic.. and a few others. Consistent and parallel themes, and in some ways this could be construed as formulaic demonstrations of beauty. ‘This is considered acceptable’, ‘this is considered Art’, ‘this is how we do it’.
Watching the children in the workshop I considered my finding from India, now in Jordan and compared them with my culture. Was history repressing the ability for those here in older cultures to break out of set appreciations of ‘Art’ and expressive formula? Are these kid encouraged to make what they feel or are they being told what it should look like? How does a culture steeped in historical ideals of what is good and what isn’t take on radical and unusual deviations from this.. how does a new generation influenced globally by different media find a platform where their work is considered ‘good’ outside what is currently appreciated and has been so for many, many more years than elsewhere, and how does a young person wanting to be educated and find success within a system find a unique voice without being rejected from the structure which he/ she is being taught within… If I thought my country at times could be rigid and conservative I had just encountered a whole new challenging system. I also thought- how does a relatively new culture establish avenues for recognisable distinction within creative expression and how do we educate people to the long term values of craftsmanship and creative outlet?
That night I was wandering the streets down Rainbow Road and I was people watching; a favourite past-time. When Jordanians interact, it’s hard to perceive what is going on within the interaction. Ok, there can be hand waving, there can be different intonation and louder speech- but the energy exchange between two people, on average is very, very even. (* note- hand waving, yelling and loud talk does not mean the person is radical or violent- it just means they are impassioned &/or demonstrative- thanks media for mudding the water on that for viewers) It’s hard to tell who has the upper hand shall we say. Often when we communicate- we can see a dominant party, or one that is submissive to the others, or the appearance of power-play being employed. Culturally we have different ways of coming together anyway- like in India, interaction can be all balls blazing from the outset and then we work our way back down to mutual respect. In Arab interaction- there is much less crackle and fizz and more even respect.
The following day, I had the opportunity to talk with a man further about my observations. I’d watched a particular theme play out two times in the morning which I’d pointed out to him- once between two men at a kebab stand and another time between another group of men setting up stalls at Jerash. What looked like from the external display to be some type of heated discussion about a thing (the lamb and the beef in the first case, and the items in the stall in the second) was actually about the particulars of the details. The first men were discussing the better qualities of the meat and the second the particular correct placement of the stand and the items. Less literal about the stuff and more about the particulars… interesting spill over into the religious quarrels surrounding this area also.. it’s not about the Quran, it’s the interpretation of the messages within yar..
Is this not what happens as we get older? We get more particular about our perspectives, more entitled to our point of views, more rigid in our perception of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’; ‘good’ and ‘bad’ interpretations… we get grouchier about being confronted about these boundaries being criticised also…? It’s a hard thing to break out of system when we nit pick the details and impose controls yeah; but is this not a battle that we as humans have a daily self responsibly to consider opposing or contesting? Why.. I’m always asking why… and I can be juvenile of mind. I flick my concepts around play them out and I don’t settle for what are other people's ideas; I refuse to feel obligation or duty to ‘be’ or think a certain way. In other words- I don’t believe the hype and I don't do what I’m told is ‘correct’… oh what a luxury huh. Yes, it is a luxury to have had the opportunity to grow myself up making choices to being able to think & ultimately behave this way.
Above- Petra. A very special mention to ￼Adeeb Alhasanat from Jordan Inspiration Tours who's knowledge about this area is vast and is a fantastic representative to impart information about the culture of Petra and it's former and current inhabitants- I highly recommend him and his company.
These older cultures on some levels can be rather serious and I considered why I assimilate so well with the playfulness of Asia. One, the belief systems align more to my values and two, well, they are far more ‘young at heart’ in a way. Creativity and that inner child come hand in hand. In order to think outside the box we need to be avant-guarde, we need to be able to take calculated risks, and we need to not be confined by constraints, rules and judgements. It’s very hard to do something new and revolutionary if people freak out about stepping outside what is established or recognised as 'acceptable'.
Ironically- my culture, although it appears to be laid back and relaxed (touted as a breeding ground for 'creativity') employs the highest level of psychological warfare I have ever experienced in any culture, anywhere in the world. Control comes in dangerous and subliminal form and restrictions are imposed everywhere. Here's an interesting thing though- it’s kryptonite for most Kiwi’s to not be liked; to not keep the waters even in their social systems and community; we don’t like obvious displays of conflict. We excel internationally because of this- we work hard and we are amicable but there’s a rather sinister side to all of this too- we are incredibly manipulative. Our society has many controls, but we learn how to to navigate and break them, not very pleasantly this comes with learning how to navigate a person also, we like put downs, we like perfectionism, we like making people do things one way and not show above this and we like blame and excuses. We have a problem with celebrating success and we undervalue people and skill... especially the accumulative and transferrable varieties. We perpetrate the mistruth of ‘luck’ and miss-inform people that we can all achieve profound fortune. That's a heavy load- yes, choice defines our direction, but I in no way believe we can dictate all of our decisions- we must work from what we have in the current situation. Ripples- build upon ripples. Is it any wonder our society is un-empowered- we constantly feel we can’t get it ‘right’, people feel bumped from all angles- internally and externally. Personal greatness comes in many forms… some doesn't look too flash to others…
Interrogation- predominantly utilised upon ourselves is reflective of intellectual snobbery and subliminal superiority. It creates crippling self-doubt within ourselves and creates shockwaves of insecurities within others. Through this, we penalise those less ingenious from trying to just get the job done in the manner they choose to try and do it. Not eating the right diet? not going to the gym enough? not doing the ‘right’ things with our kids? No rego, no permit, no degree, no prior experience... just not sure? With all this external expenditure of energy into other people's business or the surety of our own, it’s no wonder we feel depleted and in need to reach for things or people to fill these voids & cracks.
Was it Tom Cruise's character in Eyes Wide Shut that said something to the effect of 'morals are the obsession of the middle class'...? A heinous statement in some respects but one with validity all the same. When you're hungry, desperate or have 'nothing to loose' or, you make the rules, or can buy your way through them, you're not obsessing about strategising alternatives. Get the job done the way you choose with certainty. Self doubt, complacency and indecision is more harmful than anyone else's opinion.
Welcome Home.. I’ve been in New Zealand under 4 1/2 minutes, arriving in the wee hours after traveling long haul from Amman to Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi to Brisbane, Brisbane to Wellington. I’m hangin’ out at the baggage carousel; a lady walks past me and remarks about my attire. 'Well ain't you underdressed for this city love, you’re going to have a few problems’ she remarks towards my sleeveless red playsuit and referring to the nipply temperatures awaiting outside- to which I happily giggle and reply 'I'm a Wellingtonian honey; we're built tough & we like it chilly!’… inwardly groaning and in the back of my mind thinking.. umm nup, this has actually been perfect for travelling 25 hours..?!
Excuse me?- Who are you?! And why should I even feel compelled to gratify you with a response? Imagine if I hadn't been from Wellington- what a way to say 'Welcome!' no?! You are certainly not really worried about my comfort for you would have offered me a coat, and if you had wanted to have a conversation, I believe you may have slowed down rather than commenting as you walked past- jealous perhaps; can’t quite bring yourself to say- ‘I like what you are wearing’ so feel the urge to drag me down to gain a little power play.. yesss now I think we’re onto it.
Ironically this little interaction was actually perfect timing towards my mullings and musings.
Psychological warfare, power-play, control, interaction, expression and identity. I’ve learnt amazing things and recognised validity in my observations over the years in the last three months, but unfortunately they don't play out too great for my loved homeland.
The four main controls: ‘Woe is me’, ‘Interrogator’, ‘Intimidator’ and ‘Aloof’. Fascinating strategies huh… but lets take a closer look at what these really mean in society today shall we, because the outward use of these on each other is really nothing to what we are doing internally either. We like the concepts of doing good here in NZ and of karma, but we are crap to ourselves… that’s just as bad as hurting another yeah nah yeah!
The example above was a rather timely illustration of ‘Interrogator’. Putting someone else down in order to gain a feel good boost by taking a stance of superiority. I feel this lady felt she had it all together- she was prepared and had supremacy to my inadequacy in her eyes. Strategies employed upon another give an interesting indication towards what that person likes to pull upon themselves also- for many people don’t differentiate between personal/ professional, internal/ external, expressive/ intellectual. I feel for her children, I feel for her colleagues, I feel for her- my, my her standards are high.
Unusual? No. In Kiwi-land this type of interaction is rather common place. People’s level of interactive entitlement and self-righteousness is higher than anywhere else in the world; it’s not unusual for people you've never met to lean over and interject, fling a passing comment or add their two cents worth. MOST times these are kind, helpful, funny or build a sense of camaraderie, but they can be quite the opposite also and it’s out of your control if and when it’s going to happen to you. There can be something rather disconcerting about having to deal with this when ya leave the house. This doubt, these seeds of uncertainty can become poisonous to those who can remember and collect them. Feel those daggers in your back when you're dressed to impress? They might was well be real in this country because I would argue- that sensory pain does far more longterm damage than what that wound feels like in actuality because of how we comprehend and understand it.
Happiness and a sense of elation is a sign, recognised the world around of success. An outward display of personal contentment and joy; a thing of beauty and to be celebrated. In NZ this is actually a little backwards; happiness can become an affliction unless you build that hide tough- it's going to bring you some unusual challenges. Where joy spreads lightness among others in overseas environments- sharing a feeling of warmth, here, at times, it brings you the opposite- jealousy, criticism, envy and even more dangerously it incites people to sabotage or de-validate achievement. People take joy in breaking others and dragging them down. 'What are you talking about??!!- we are rated one of the 'happiest' nations in the world!'.. yes, apparently. Look around you, travel a little and compare, we're not- I don't know how we are measuring this statistic, but I can sure as f*&%k share that when you've been immersed in other cultures around the globe which ARE happy, when you arrive home there is a distinct and startling difference... and hey, these are only my impressions- perhaps you see another side :)
In NZ people are not valued- neither is individual skill- people believe in equality in a broad societal sense. We are brought up to think we ‘can do anything’; that anyone can gain the skills to be incredible. We are not built equal, I do not believe in this concept- some have talents, skills or natural dispositions that others cannot acquire. Through years of hard work and selection, choices and direction we can grow and hone these building blocks- but it is not by accident or ‘natural selection’ that some rise to greatness or find personal contentment. Unfortunately there is a common acceptance in this society that some are ‘luckier’ than others- this is not the case- some have fortune because they have worked for it, and they have figured out where there directions, passions and strengths lie... attributes still come with problems; and problems come with attributes. I build my amazing life, my skills, my talents, my connections, my work, overcoming my problems and growing my ripples. I will not standby and tolerate people wanting to take that away from me, nor slight, demean or control others by not validating their achievements and growth; nor obstruct them for wanting to have more or be better. A little side note.. we don't get things we desire if we hate the people or situations that currently have them ;)
Twice in the last two weeks I have had conversations on the topic of 'wealth distribution' which got me thinking on a deeper metaphoric level. Wealth, value and success.. the internalisation of these qualities imo is far more important initially to a person's growth and vision than the external- yet it is often the superficial manifestation that people get hung up on. Obligation, duty, expectations to share- there are extraordinary pressures that can come with feeling flush let alone being flush; and the manifestations of luxury both external and internal. To be open, approachable and amicable; to achieve, to allow others access to our gifts, our energy and fortune- where do people receive recognition for the distribution of their spiritual or conceptual wealth? Sharing talent is the gift of those endowed with affluence (personal fortunes)... it can be found in places of 'poverty' and of 'hardship'. If society doesn't validate or celebrate 'fortune' and 'success' in her less literal manifestations; our extent of poverty is far reaching indeed. How do we enlighten people that 'wealth' is the responsibility of the individual? and how to we encourage people to value themselves and moderate feelings of guilt, self worth and obligation when there are excessive pressures to constantly give ones energy, ones resources and ones reserves?
We have interesting complications and they seem to be compounding quickly. Scarily- to undo this, the main work comes down with numero uno. Unhelpfully, people are scared to talk honestly about their feelings for it having consequence upon their jobs, their livelihood and their opportunities.. and well, there's not a lot of courage to speak out about being disgruntled or dissatisfied- the increase in cost of living doesn't just effect logistics it greatly effects freedom of speech. You want to feel personal achievement in a professional environment- well that ain’t going to come from a community where those cannot validate personal achievement within themselves. Here again, is why it is very important to define and follow doing the things you enjoy and that bring you happiness- personal sucess comes from ticking off and chasing those personal goals. I cannot stress highly enough my encouragement to those of creative and ambitious dreams- GET OVERSEAS and slide a 'Big Picture' jigsaw piece in there. Yes, I'm not encouraging fantasy, I'm actually working on a project which helps others who have desire and drive to do just that. Just as an artist has to walk away from an artwork to get space, reflection and perspective, a person needs experience in other cultures to get fresh outlooks on their life.
I love being in a country where I am respected; as is- as a human who is presented well and who is striving to do her best. Little things can make me really warm. Travelling around Italy and having chocolatey breakfasts with decadent croissants, strong ass coffee and Nutella makes my little soul sing- I shit you not that you can get raised eyebrows and little interjected comments eating this in NZ... shall I tell more stories?- God forbid you feed it to your little ones in public arrfg. The Nutella or croissant, perhaps, not the coffee... but well, kiddies in Japan love that also and that brings up a story about hitchhiking in the Land of the Rising Sun with a Bichon Frise ricocheting around a smart car filled with oversized stuffed plushie-toys being fed ice coffee from a bottle... the things I experience hehehe!! Even though I don’t personally drink booze, I adored walking into a petrol station where ya can buy fantastic bread, cheese, meats and alcohol to put together a picnic or dinner on the go. God I laugh at what would happen if we attempted to implement this in my homeland- we are not even able to drink a wine on our own beaches or in our parks… Trust issues eh... This investment into others wellbeing gets on my nerves- ‘it’s not good for you’ so this has been put in place- now adhere to it or else. Excuse me? I’m intelligent enough to make up my own mind thank you, and I don't need your opinion; nor should I be penalised if I find that my choice is incorrect, NOR should our past misdemeanours hang over us like noose impeding being able to give things another try within fair appraisal. Ie. just cos one dickhead ruined it, doesn't mean we all need to suffer ta, or just because something shyite happens doesn't mean a new legislation needs to be drafted. Life is about having a little naughty with the nice no?, and shit. happens. Responsibility… why does NZ feel it’s up to others to control this?
We encourage people to capitalise on ‘Woe is Me’, we berate ourselves internally using ‘Intimidation’ and ‘Interrogator’ about our diets, choices, decisions and appearances. We 'Interrogate' others psychologically and through other means to share and distribute their resources. We ignore and act ‘Aloof’ to those who deserve credit, we ‘Interrogate’ each other though email communication rather than resolving issues and conflict face-to-face and use litigation and fear strategies rather than just being personable. We control our society though ‘Intimidation’ by imposing intellectual superiority upon those of lesser means and we give completely inappropriate strategies to those less fortunate and then un-empower them when they don’t reach impossible ideals.
Ironically for a country that is built with pioneer spirit from all nations (that includes present tense- it takes a huge amount of this to emigrate here); people wanting a new system away from established structures; we have become more repressive than the lands we have departed from. Like over protective and anxious shepherds incessantly corralling and protecting our flock; we meddle, we worry and we leave nothing to natural order. Hey!- the flock is smart & the flock has grown.. there are sheep, there are wolves, there are rabbits.. hell! There’s the whole damn ark (lol). This strangle-hold will prove to do no good. It's choice that defines progression- if people are not enabled to make these in variation, for better or worse, growth becomes stereotypical and stunted and learning is formulaic and limited. 'What will be, will be'... super close to 'Inshallah' ("God (Allah) willing" or "if God(Allah) wills").. there is method to these statements; there's only so much a human can manipulate.
Self assurance and harmony comes from balance and a sense that one’s energy expelled is evenly replenished with energy gathered & consumed. In Western society we individually give an awful lot of this away in our interactions. We are taught to radiate outwards, but I came to realise while in Jordan, and through personal experience- we are not encouraged to develop the skills on how to reflect that back inwards or to moderate and reserve this technique. Our emotional intelligence is criplingly low. Those places with faith; the concept of a power bigger than ego on a big community scale; a power which can replenish and help a person with things that they themselves can’t manage, enables a person to have a link to that returning energy loop. It also helps us when we are not as far out on the ripples to find appreciation and solidarity within where we are, while getting to where we want to be- i.e that by continuing to do our best with what is present we can work towards a better future… this requires managing emotions i.e not freaking out, remaining calm and not throwing toys out of baskets or at others; constantly reframing back to what is good- even if that's minuscule.
Using a coping strategy or being involved in an addiction, to whatever it may be that a person wants to refill that void with (the feeling of being zapped mentally and /or physically) to top up their energy is the physical manifestation of trying to tie back in that replenishment of energy and love. It’s essential to learn about our emotions and feelings in order to do this- a little faith and trust is required in ourselves and in things working out ok. That ‘f’ word- I’m not just talking of a religious concept of ‘faith’- but if one chooses so, that may be where they find that link to love. Personally I find that link back to my beliefs of something bigger without being associated to a particular doctrine, rather to many and within my own conceptual developments (that includes the science and medical doctrine toooo); and within the activities that facilitate me being able to connect into happiness and a greater sense of lightness- the sea, the air, speed, movement, creative output. However, creative output has an awful lot of external energy expenditure associated- it’s historically well documented how this and addiction go hand in hand- how many artists, dancers, poets and other magnificent minds can we name who use(d) vices?- is it no wonder within cultures that radically think outside the box we are finding increases in coping strategies?! Plus, we can’t take away everyone’s strategies and not help replace them with better ones now can we??!! Smoking a fag takes a much shorter time than teaching oneself how to recognise the rise, fall and patterns of one’s anxiety now doesn’t it…. although imo, it should be my choice if I want to stay with the fag option to start with… everything in moderation consideration… and not everyone has the capacity to want to change.
Middle Easterners do not expel personal energy in the same format to Westerners- they are far more discrete and reserved- and I would say far more emotionally intelligent when it comes to a level of selection about how and when they radiate their emotional investment into others. We hold perspectives of ‘repression’ and ‘restriction’; we judge from our own West view because we only understand how we ourselves live and behave- taking their reservation for oppression; thinking our way is the best way to be- but I think there is a lot of method here which is very, very valuable and very misunderstood… and faaaar more developed. Oh how the media loves to wangle the burka & hijab- in Jordan, there are people of a great cross section of contemporary and traditional identity choices. Again, what is not chic about having things reserved for those we have selected of value to share with? Fascinating ideas for humanity innit when we start seeing how people have evolved socially to live together- for how we keep ourselves well, and for how we can come to understand each other much better and ultimately diffuse conflict and self-righteousness.
Conflict- we would like to say this is external. West; we like to point fingers over there to Middle East when we hear this word, but boy oh boy, I tell ya, we have this in far more dangerous form in our Antipodean communities. They might have the physical amphitheatres and places where gladiators battled, they might have flash points of war currently- but we all have created the psychological war grounds; the media of our criticisms; our ideals and projections upon each other; tell tales and mistruths of disgrace and disesteem.
Equality v balance. We seem obsessed with striving for the former and we are quick to pronounce other cultures which we perceive to not have these ‘rights’. I see far more value in the latter; balance, than the former. I vehemently believe in fairness but equality? We have different strength and weaknesses from physical to intellectual; we should strive to highlight and celebrate our power not deficiencies. Womens rights, roles and liberty… there are different guises in different cultures of these- just because they do not look like our Western format does not mean there is not balance there. The women I spoke to in Jordan in no way felt repressed and were angry about the portrayal of this within the media- as were my fair sisters in Kashmir. Their value in their communities and families was celebrated- no, it’s not the 'same' at times to their male partners and colleagues- but they’re praised and valued; recognised and celebrated for their skills making quality of living equations. And all of this is changing- with more choices, more exposure to opportunities, they are making decisions for themselves towards their dreams and education while incorporating these into their customs and relationships… that takes a lot of changes to preconditioning… that’s a lot for any human to take on. As I’ve said before- I’m the alien in this new land- it’s up to me to modify and take things on the nose if needed while finding a place where I hold my values and identity also while being open to new perceptions.. interesting balancing games eh. Queen Rania of Jordan is a shining leader in women’s rights, education and empowerment and her contemporary views and style, both of concept and presentation, is leading strong and unfettered Jordanians into a bright and fertile future- God I admire this woman. Rome wasn't built in a day peps- good things take time.
The history within Jordan of previous civilisations is at times daunting, overwhelming and completely humbling. I was struck a little jaw-dropped-oogle-like in Petra, Jerash and latter in Rome. At the ancient city of Gerasa just outside Jerash. I’d come to an intersection (above)- a meeting place literally from the four points of the compass for traders to arrive from neighbouring countries and much further afield. As I looked down, the paving stones below had grooves; ruts from oodles of years of chariots, carts, barrows and feet. Humans for centuries moving over the place where I stood at that point- that’s a bit mind blowing when we unpackage it; people living, dreaming, doing things, loving, crying and evolving; millions of stories- all varied, all different, all unique. Coming present day, in 200 years, this progression, this evolution and this hunger for energy has taken an exponential curve upwards. We are all hungry, hungry for more-ness of everything... and even if you're not into the stuff- you're getting energy in and from other things, people and places.
There is just so much variation here- from pristine beaches to the red sands and majestic rock formations of Wadi Rum; the ancient ruins of Petra to the seaside of ‘Aquaba. The variations of colours from light aqua’s and gem coloured blues to iridescent oranges, peach, magenta’s, violet's and the soft creams of stoned cities to the eye popping red’s due to the the filtered UV light. The quietest city I have ever visited; Amman’s sounds of birdsong and the calls from the mosques reverberate in my memory with happiness alongside the irridecent red poppies- there is a calmness that permeates this location which is heart warming. From breathing in the oxygen rich air of The Dead Sea and experiencing bobbing like a cork in the mineral rich water, to flying upside-down over the desert in a Hawker Hunter fighter jet and an Extra 300L… I can’t articulate how much fun and excitement THAT is... especially when ya've got the controls weeeeeee!… all I’ll say is MORE MORE MORE!! =^+^=
There is so much vibrancy, there is so much LIFE! There is so much fun, laughter, warmth and value here; it’s so very graceful- I hope my writing defames some of the fallacies floating around and alleviates inner concerns about coming to Jordan to travel and/or conduct business. You have nothing to fear. It’s just yum… doooo ittttt.
New cultures, old cultures… when it comes down to it- biologically we are all made of similar stuff- BUT we have conditionings that are different; neural pathways and flash-points which are different. Varied orientations for energy needs and ways of sharing these; and contrasting ideas that we believe in- all this shapes how we can progress, what makes us tick or repells us and how receptive or defensive we are to new information. Communication delivery can make a ginormous difference- most people don't like being told they are ‘wrong’ or finding out that a thing or ideology they have believed in can be done a different way or that there are other means to an end- and people can’t do things when they are scared. This can be confronting stuff. If however, we can take the fear associated with change away; if we can show opportunity for discovery by loosening off a notch, we can make headway into areas of productivity and development. Fear of the unknown, fear of letting go, fears of not having enough… fears of others getting ahead further than we are… fears of not doing the 'right' thing... those feelings all lie inside not outside. We need to talk, we need to encourage others to have opportunities to get together to discuss face-to-face our ideas, or tribulations; our concepts and honest viewpoints; we need to mingle. Trust in our good judgements not panic at prospective terrors, trust in natural order (NZ stop freaking out that shit would go chaotic if it’s left to develop without being nanny’d) and respect the intelligence of our world inhabitants and individual decisions.
The more people experience suppression, the more people want change, and this shows foremost within our youth. If we are not educated; emotionally educated as to how to deal with the rollercoaster of reorientation and the personal confrontation of difference, we will only fracture our societies rather than grow forwards with solidarity. We are all Kings and Queens of empires- the personal spaces of our thoughts and emotional orientation, and ultimately the lives we live and the choices which define them. Act reverent, act with grace, act with faith in your decisions and be proud of what you have achieved and what you will make happen in the future. إن شاء الله