SPEVI Daze

Been attending the South Pacific Educators in Vision Impairment (SPEVI) conference in Adelaide this past week. I’d like to write some reflections soon, but here are my immediate reflections at the time…as poems. A conference is a lot of learning to absorb at one time, that’s for sure.

SPEVI Daze

 

Days a-filled with knowledge broad

A rolling wave, informing

The researcher, teacher, parent bow

To thrust the child and student forward

 

A forward journey, target bound

Of arrow formed and ready

To launch from varied places trod

Next steps in each one’s story

 

Day or knight, we ne’er can tell

What changes may surprise us

But onward ,upward, kindred all

Press on and innovate – regardless

 

14/1/2020

Gina Marie

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Champions

 

A knight will champion

His liege’s cause

And so we need crusaders

Who go to battle

March on the walls

The battlement, overtakers

 

You’ve crumbled walls

Built bridges tall

Overreaching troubled waters

The scaffold now

We climb aboard

To extend the reach you bought us

 

And so we follow knights of old

Who’ve fought to bring together

Those left behind

Who now may find

Connection through this tether

 

15/1/2020

Gina Marie

On the occasion of Phia Damsma receiving her Knighthood from the King of the Netherlands

Escape

I remember being in a group of parent peers of children with a vision impairment, and we had all been asked what we did for ourselves – to relax, enjoy, be active etc.

One parent described their preferred activity when there was no particular requirement of them by life, and ended with, “But that’s really just escape!”

The first thing that stood out for me, was that shame had been attached to their preferred activity, which they found revitalising and enjoyable.

 

Now, though I can read and research as much as anyone (and usually enjoy doing so), I am not qualified in medicine, psychology, or research beyond the overview one gets from Community Service training, my professional and personal experience. Having said that, my fifty plus years of living has been amongst and in the support of folks and families from multiple walks and experiences of life.

My observation through my own life and the lives around me is that we need ‘escape’ and encourage it in many forms. We all need relief, rest, change of position, direction, focus, activity and community…but there is a difference between that which is sought out to refresh and enable re-engagement, and that which is pursued to consume and thereby inhibit connection, intimacy and purpose.

We encourage ‘date nights’, family getaways, blokes/girls weekends, solitude, meditation, exercise, visiting a café, festivals and milestone celebrations (e.g. birthdays etc.), producing art, enjoying films and books.

Many times these things are used as an escape, and I’ve made use of multiple versions of these activities myself. They have been deliberately incorporated into my life as healthy, enjoyable, necessary, desired, hoped-for, and as a means of realising hopes…and as a regular provision of space or as an escape when overwhelmed.

As parents, we can sometimes forget that we are also carers – a lot of extra stuff comes with raising a child who is not ‘mainstream’. Time out (or escape) to recharge is taught and encouraged. Among other things, Carers Victoria suggests finding “out what relaxes you and take regular time out to recharge. Try to do something that you enjoy every day and spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself.”

 

A couple of the things I believe we were built for are connection, “The energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship” and purpose (Brené Brown). But when these are being broken down and impacted on negatively,  repeatedly or over a lengthy period of time, we become less healthy versions of ourselves. So, these are two of the aspects of life I look to make/keep developing if I’m to be a healthy me. Doing those things which revitalise and refresh me, and inspire desire, motivation and direction for purpose, is part of being a healthy me.

I like to go for long drives or walks through the bush or in the mountains – long because it can take an hour or two before I am relaxed enough to attain the benefits of this ‘escape’. I enjoy photography but, this too can require something like a long drive or long walk to bring my mind, soul and body some unity/peace to ‘see’ what I want to capture. Other times, the act of ‘seeing’ to photograph is the means of aligning my inner person into a whole again. I also just sit…sometime with a cuppa; sometime with music; often just sitting or laying down in quiet (for some of us, or in some seasons/circumstances, this can take some getting used to).

Often, I’m looking for escape because I don’t want to do life anymore. I don’t want connection or purpose. I’m sick of responsibility and tasks to complete. I am replete with working to be a healthy participant in my relationships. I don’t want to read, or write, or paint, or photograph.

I have small moments where I ‘top-up’ my need for escape – a massage, a coffee alone etc. But I have to plan in fresh scenery, protracted periods without responsibility for what others require. I also know the difficulty of no finances, seasons of busyness (seasons is not the same as life pattern, but that’s another blog post I feel), being in the role of carer…therefore I need to plan to replenish, even if that means asking for help to do so.

Help may be available in various forms:

  • Someone to share in your caring role – even for one meal time
  • An acquaintance who has property where you can stay
  • A vehicle to borrow
  • Venues with free cuppas/meals that have been “paid forward”
  • Someone who already offered with help or finance that you turned down

 

Escape is not necessarily a word to be ashamed of, in my opinion.

But an escape can be used in an unhealthy way.

Particular ways of escape may be healthy for some, and not for others.

So…escape, refresh, re-focus, re-engage.

We all need hopes that can be realised – go realise a hope this week, big or small!

Dooarkanew? – (Do-Are-Can-You?)

What does your mind tell your heart and your soul?

Does the spirit bring calm when your heart’s in turmoil?

Is your soul being troubled by the mind’s crooked steps?

Inner-self still assured that eternity’s kept?

 

What do you feel, when your mind isn’t sure?

When you feel, is your mind sent to some other shore?

Is your soul in disquiet, keeping step with your mind?

Can the essence of you, whisper that you are mine?

2/6/2019

Bittersweet

As certain as a concrete path

That leads from here to there

A settled end of certainty

Releasing – if you dare

 

An ending seems so final

Though an end there needs to be

An end with questions still unanswered

End of long-past misery

 

As tender washes bitterness

Aside! Away! Afar!

The bitterness of losses

Taints the sweetness of the mark

 

A farewell mark in time

A fresh begin-again

A next step of progression

A sweet beginning, bitter end

31/5/209

Mother’s Day Reflection – 2019

Mothering

A journey long

Facing challenges head on

Learning as you go along

Make mistakes, then sing your song

 

Mothering

Of those from me

Recognise the family tree

Tuning in, uniqueness see

Encourage, teach them how to ‘be’

 

Mothering

Of those who came

From another mother’s frame

Take care, on loan, though all the same

I love and send you back again

 

Mothering

Sons and daughters who do not fit

The mould, the world does force a bit

Give space, belonging, wings to flit

About as who they’ll be, as built

 

Mothering

Though some will leave

By choice or to eternity

Speak their name, release but keep

The truth that moth’ring does not cease

 

Mothering

Will be to leave

Your loves will long, though, still to cleave

To your memory, with sigh and heave

And take you to the one’s they lead

 

Gina Marie

11/5/2019

Things

Things I can no longer do

Things you wont allow me to

Things I know I’ve done before

Things of which I’m now, not sure

 

Places I have lived and moved

Places bringing sweet soul-soothe

Places unfamiliar, new

Places strange I go with you

 

Names and faces everywhere

Names that bring a memory fair

Names which used to fit in time

Names of those who once were mine

 

My soul is floating fettered to

My anchor, firm, which cannot move

My view when lifted by this storm

My mind cannot define its form

 

Things were planned before my time

Places set in boundaries mine

Names and faces I have loved

My soul will fly to home above

 

18/4/2019

Fair Play Symposium Review: Where is the equity and inclusion in diversity?

Some insights in this review on diversity and access to the arts

Micaela Schmidt

What can I say? What should I say? For a fair play symposium, I have to say that the treatment of myself and fellow artists with disabilities was pretty… unfair.

In February, Diversity Arts Australia along with Creative Victoria hosted a Fair Play Symposium in Melbourne. This event launched Creative Victoria’s ‘Fair Play’ program’, which offers two years of equity and inclusive training to 20 creative organisations in Victoria. You can read more about the program here.

Thanks to Regional Arts Victoria and Murray Arts, I was offered a promo ticket to attend the symposium. As a regional emerging theatre maker, performer and teaching artist who is totally blind, I grab any opportunity that comes my way which will benefit my arts practice and allow me to network with others in the industry. So I was keen to get ideas, and hoped to be able to have input…

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