Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday Story - stories

I watched a documentary last week on SBS, Life On Earth From Space (https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/program/life-of-earth-from-space). It was fascinating...but I'm not sure I had the desired reaction.

I may be because I'm reading two quite different books, Songlines by Margo Neale and Lynne Kelly and The Akashic Records by Sandra Anne Taylor. I don't usually read two books at once, but I had started Songlines when I had this strange message in my head that I had to start the Akashic record book that a friend had given me. I usually listen to teh strange feelings I get...and this one was a little wild...and then got wilder.

So, Songlines is about our First Nations people and their record-keeping through stories, Dreamtime, and Songlines. It's fascinating. Then I starte dteh Akashic Records, and it's telling me about how every soul has a record that's kept, but not just poeple, everey animal, tree, plant, all beings have these records. And they're accesible through the energy fields.

And because these two books are being read together (so to speak) that information seemed to be wove together. The Akashic Records, a term coined in the late 1700s (I think) and coming from maybe Eastern mysticism, parrallels the ancestral story keeping of Australia's First Nations people.

Wow.

How many times as I have been reading things, does it hark back to a twist on some ancient knowledge that earlier peoples had? Heaps. And it's kind of amazing, at the same time as horrifying.

When I began my first agricultural research job, I had to do a literature review on the topic. I foudn a research paper from 1909 (I think, around the turn of the century anyway) that had doen a very similar experiment to what I was doing. I remember saying to my boss, "What? We're doing what they did 90 years ago?"

All these thoughts were churning in my mind, when I watched the documentary. In it, they were giving the 'story' of how earth was created, and the moon, showing how some oof the evidence to support the 'story' was from samples collected from space. And yet, as they explained the formation of earth and the moon, the atmosphere, the oceans, and life...there were gaps. Massive gaps in the story. We don't really know how atmospheric particles became single-cell organisms, but they did. I was a bit astounded by this. A 'scientific' show with these leaps over holes.

And I began to wonder...

do we know any more today than the ancient people knew back then?

We claim to be a civilised society with a wealth of knowledge, blah blah, but we can't explain Stonehenge or the Pyramids, the Easter Island carvings. Creations from ancient times, which we've been taught were far less civilised times.

Are we kidding ourselves?

Are we just constantly telling ourselves stories about how fantastic we are, when we know less than others have known before us?

Is science just story telling?

Have I always been a story telling - even when I thought I'd had a vastly different past and done a total career-flip?

My mind is spinning like a top.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Fearless Friday - vaccines

I was thinking that vaccines fitting the phallic Friday mode because of that pointy insertion thing (big grin) but then I noticed my last post was Fearless and on a similar topic, so I'm on the Fearless one...but still thinking about the pointy, pokey, insertion thing.

I'm in a very strange land. Not just living in NSW where the Delta strain of Covid took off and spread (to other parts of NSW and Aus), but also because I've a science training but I live mostly in the woo-woo lands now. Covid has really pushed buttons for me and made me face a lot of things.

My science training should have me all gung-ho about medicine...but my science training also taught me to read between the lines, look for the raw data, see the evidence, question everything.

My life has also made me somewhat of a skeptic about blindly following the 'pharmaceuticals have an answer/cure for everything' creed that seems to be somewhat rife in society. This isn't a recent thing, in high school females get a Rubella vaccination (to stop you getting German Measles if you fall pregnant). I don't suppose this is compulsory, but I was a kid so it wasn't my decisions. So, 120 girls line up to get their shot. 119 girls merrily go back to school without any issue. 1 kid, yep me, goes home and spends 2 weeks sick with german measles. This is my first memory of medicine and me not quite seeing eye-to-eye.

I've had a couple of flu vaccines in my life - and been sick afterwards. One doctor even suggested that I'd probably be better not having them. Thank you Doc :)

In my 30s, I got Ross River Fever and Glandular fever, which led to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. CFS has made me super super sensitive to so many things (or maybe CFS made me aware of my super sensitivity). I make choices all the time - noisy restuarant or take away? trust someone else's cooking (I can't do gluten) or cook myself? walk or work? family visit or much needed rest after busy week? buy clothes or have acupuncture? buy frivilous household item or buy chinese herbs? The list is endless.

So then we come to the Covid vaccine question. 

Everything I've read about covid (plus a family memebr having it) lets me know it's similar to Ross River Fever, and Long Covid is like CFS. I know what these are like; I don't want them (again).

But vaccines and me! I would love to be a foster carer of bats (I used to do it back in the old days) but you need to be vaccinated to do it. I decided against risking that vaccination, so I no longer care for bats. It was a tough decision to make, but the best one for me (I think).

After thinking long and hard, and reading anything scientific I could lay my hands on, I made a few decisions. One was that I would wait for spring until getting vaccinated because I wanted to be healthy before having it, and winter isn't the best time for my health.

Then Sydney got the Delta strain sweeping through...and outwards. As it came closer, Mr E began to worry and pester me about getting vaccinated - any time, any vaccine, just get it done. It was the media and government push too. And it was saturating. Everywhere I turned the same message was being hammered in (and turning was mostly on social media and TV/radio because we were in lockdown). 

I'd made my decision and it was bloody hard to stick to it with communal fear and peer pressure, along with government messaging, being incessant. But I know my body. I know what's best for me. And I knew I had to wait until spring.

And then vaccination being compulsory got thrown around. That really got my back up. As someone who had made my own independent decision and assessment, and I was only waiting, I felt for those who'd made a decision not to be vaccinated. The pressure was (and is) horrendous.

I don't care why people have made a decision to remain unvaccinated. That's their call and their decision. They feel they need to make that decision for their body, then I'm not judging. I've made similar decisions for other vaccines. To lose your right to choice, is a big step for humanity, and not one I'm happy to take. So each to their own.

But with each passing day, the pressure to override my personal choice was huge.

Thank goodness for a few supportive people around me who were calm, clear-headed, and listened to my reasoning. It was reassuring for someone to say, "Oh, you've thought about this then." I mean, usually such a sceptical comment would have my back up, but this was pretty much the best I could get so I had to take it! LOL!

I don't live in a city. I don't consider that I'm remote either. But the GPs here didn't get much supply. When they did, they prioritised those in retail and others. And I applauded that. If the virus got into the retail workers, our little town would have all been affected by covid because we all go to at least one of those shops daily. 

I rang a couple of times to see if the vaccination appointments were open yet - and was told no. And then, after a few weeks, one of the ladies said I could fill in the paperwork, drop it in, and be on the waiting list. Perfect. I did that. 

Unexpectedly, I got a cancellation and got my first shot a month ago. 3 weeks later, my second shot. I wish I could tell you that all was well...but it's me and my precious, sensitive body. When I was up for #2, the Dr asked how we'd all gone with #1 - yep, only me affected. There was maybe 15-20 people in the group (we had group, outdoor vaccinations - incredible for community spirit!).

So, in the last month, this is how I've been:

  • 6 full days in bed doing preety much nothing but sleep and stagger to the loo
  • 8 full days where I managed to do some of the day job, but had naps, and didn't manage to cook dinner
  • 4 days at 'picking up' level

In that time, I've drunk an ocean of water, taken pain killers, slept with my arm on a soft pillow, had more Ross River flash-backs and pain than you'd ever want. Where I had been walking most days, this past month, I've done maybe 4 walks (mostly shorter than usual). I just don't have any energy to spare.

So, more than half of the last month, I've been "sick". The rest of the month, I've been "getting better". I made a choice to do this to myself. It wasn't an easy choice. The last month has been hell on my mental health (on top of the lockdown and general insanity of the world) and my physical health. Over the past 16 years with CFS, I've worked my arse off to be as healthy as I possible can be, and I needed every single trick I've learned to remain as healthy as I have during this past month.

Vaccination should never be compulsory.

I can't imagine how I'd have healed if I hadn't have been allowed to make the choice to take those jabs myself. 

For those who, like Mr E, find vaccinations a minor inconvenience, I hope you can appreciate another side to that story. 

I wouldn't wish the last month on anyone. But years of having covid/long covid, no thanks. I've done that with another virus, and I doubt I could go through that again. This past month has been a reminder enough.

And that's my vaccination story. I'm almost a week past #2 and in the 'picking up' stage. Hopefully, I can keep healing and soon be back to how I was a month ago! Fingers crossed. I miss my photo walks.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Fearless Friday - virus thoughts

I've had a few conversations this week that have things swirling in my head and I wanted to sift them out the best way I know how - here!


Life at the moment is weird - if you wrote about it, an editor would tell you it was unbelievable and you couldn't write it!

In Australia, Covid had a big impact in early 2020 when 'fear' of what this virus is and what it can do was high. We were all locked down for some weeks. And then things became less fearful and more open, however the threat of the virus didn't go away.

Actually, I should start pre-virus, the bushfire season of 2019/2020 is what scared me in such a profound way, I made massive (for me) life and thought changes. So the virus was something I managed much easier than the fires. I had had my existential crisis and I knew where I was now headed.

So, we got through 2020. And then the Delta strain hit. We saw awful stories from overseas and lamented at how awful it all was (we'd become good at this because we're an island and could contain). And then the strain arrived in Australia, and took off (in Aus-terms) in Sydney.

It's 11 weeks since Sydney and surrounds locked down. All my families are up there, so we can't see them. No matter what hardships they're experiencing, we can't help. And that hurts me.

We're all in lockdown now, all of NSW.

Unfortuantely, again, the virus has got into those communities that society wanted to protect (aged, children and Indigenous). Not to mention that it's infected places where people cannot leave - hospitals and prisons. (If I got into my thoughts on this, I don't think I'd be able to stop, so I'm not going there today).

The impacts of the virus are highlighting inequalities with society. Rich school students have received the vaccine before much of the vulnerable communities. City folk have huge vaccination clinics set up, while rural and remote communities have limited supply (I'm still on a waiting list). Home schooling and work from home are putting huge strains on families. Hospitality jobs have pretty much ceased to exist, with little aid in this lockdown. So many small businesses are out of action, receiving little assistance, while many big corporations are profiteering and abusing assistance packages. Female sports have been largely abandoned, while male sports have continued even when it means massive financial input and huge location changes. I coudl go on, but I won't.

So... what are we as a society doing when these inequalities are exposed? It hits the media, then it's gone. Or it hits the media in a way that somehow seems less, or that is spun in some way to make it seem 'unavoidable'. We're bandaiding over the inequality. 

Let me just go on a personal segue here.

I contracted Ross River Fever in 2005. It's a mosquito-borne virus that has varying impacts on different people. For me, it wiped out an active person and turned them to someone functioning at a bare minimum. I could shower, but then I'd need to rest before I could get dressed, and sometimes that rest was a 2 hour sleep. I could sleep for 18 hours a day - and I had no choice about that. My body would just cease to function. I went from working in a new demanding job, sometimes 12 hour days, to sleeping more than I was awake.

Everything I thought I knew about myself had shifted and changed. I lost things that I thought were vital (eg good health, robust body, a career, work that gave me financial independence, the ability to travel at a whim, do things without thought). 

A little tiny virus I never saw, reduced me to nothing. I had to re-evaluate my self, my life, my values, my fears, my prejudices, my responses to things.

Slowly I regained health, and then it slid away, I regained and it slid. Honestly, it was like a bloody rollercoaster for years as I battled. I'd get better, 'do too much', and get worse.

What was 'do too much'? It could be anything at all, and that was the frustrating thing. I never knew what would set me on my arse again.

Slowly, I made my way to 2019 when the bushfires stared me down. I had some moments in those months where I faced difficult things inside of me. My rash offers of help to anyone. My fear of losing everything. My fear that humanity was a failed experiment. My inability to leave a lasting legacy of which I was proud. My pain at loss of animals and environment. My love for those who helped in any way, big or small. My horror at the media portrayal of everything.

One morning, I faced a choice. Did I want to live through this, because it was going to get worse and I would be alone? I didn't answer that straight away. I took time to think about it. What did 'worse' and 'alone' mean? Let me tell you, I never went close to this! But I elected to live through this. I wanted to change, and help bring about change.

Life has flowed since then. I participated in an Ho'oponopono course that helped me face so many fears that had been buried inside me - personal fears and ancestral fears, hurts and pain. To sit and talk about these things was incredible. Yes, totally woo-woo, but hell, nothing else was making sense in this bat-shit crazy world (before it all went nuts!).

Which brings me back in a circle.

There's a virus in our world that's affecting everyone on the planet and exposing fears, hurts, inequalities. What's it asking us? 

We've been so quick to develop a vaccination to mask the problem and keep going as normal. But is that what we should be doing? 

Should we be taking this time to look at all the fractures/inequalities/holes/forgetten parts in our society and do better? Should we be dismantling what doesn't serve us all, and replacing with a different system?

It's easy to be in the 'comfort zone' of the usual. But if the usual isn't working for you, should we be propping it up?

Society (as a whole) isn't working for me. The system and I have had issues since I was a kid who didn't fit in. I tried to fit in, for years, but I ended up sick and forgotten by a system that really doesn't care. I've worked my way back to health, but I'm damned if I'm trying to fit in again.

We rail against the Middle Eastern and Asian cultures with their strict rules ensuring society plays by the powers that be ... but are we any different? 

I can't change everything, but I can change me. 

I can make choices. I can do due diligence to find out what's hidden behind stories. I can change my life, my world, my self.

I'm finding joy in nature. I'm trying to buy from companies that have a good ethos. I'm trying to make connections with people who share my views. I'm trying to emit love, joy and happiness instead of fear, and panic. I'm trying to keep human connections in a society where lockdowns are thought to be beneficial for people. This is not to say I'm breaking the rules. I'm following as best I can, but I'm also making conscious choices to do what I can to stop these rules abusing my humanity.

People need connections. People need to talk to each other, hug each other, care for each other in the ways they know. Isolating people is a great way to breed fear and keep control ... and I don't want to be controlled like an automaton. I'm here to live a human life, with other humans, and have a positive impact on the world. I'm just not sure how I can do that at the moment.

But I am not alone. 

You are not alone.

No matter how difficult this time is, reach out to others. Help others. Shine light and love where you can. Smile. Love. Live.

I'm not sure that I've solved any problems here, but my poor tired brain is settling down and not so tangled now. Thanks for the space to express my thoughts...which is another thing. I need middle ground discussions in society - where we can talk out things and air views and think how we might change our views or hold them more closely. The climate at the moment is so polarised - if you're questioning anything you're deemed crazy. It seems that there's toe-ing the line, or nothing. I work in the grey in-between. I want to see discussions (but not arguments or vitriol) and gently air my views, so that I can formulate and jostle things in my head to see where I fit. This has always been a safe space for me to do that. I hope we can have more safe spaces for discussions.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

It's been a while...

Oh boy, blog, I've neglected you for a long time. 

Words aren't doing it for me at the moment - writing, speaking or reading them.

Why? 

I think it's a processing thing in my brain. I noticed when I was learning new things about writing, I couldn't write until they'd settled into my head properly. And I think this is similar.

In the last 2 years, life's jumbled itself all up. Well, actually, that's not something new for me :) But it's not just my life this time, it's the life all around me that's jumbled. And that's taking time to process.

I was thinking today, that maybe there is nothing to process. Maybe I should be looking at/after myself and working on me, and forgetting about the wider world.

I'm one of those people who can see most sides to things, especially when I remain somewhat detached and unemotional. So, I can see why people are upset about everything that happening. I can understand why people take things as a personal attack, rather than a wider societal thing. I see people's view when they say something is their #1 priority - even if I don't share that view. I can understand why people are deperate for a vaccine, and I can understand when they don't want one. And that's been hell in my brain.

My poor brain is like an old computer churning through data trying to make sense and see a way forward in the program.

Sometimes, there isn't a way forward that harmonious or even a satisfying compromise. I think this is where my words are stuck.

And so I'm falling into nature and capturing the joy I feel there in images. It's like every day is a Wildflife Wednesday.

And I apologise for not being here, not writing, not finding words or stories. I'm managing the chaos of life my way, so I can find joy every day and continue to find happiness in living.

I hope you're also finding pieces of happiness and joy even in this chaos.

Australian Magpie

Currawong

Australian Pelican

Rainbows in waves

Windblown sand

Driftwood

Silver Gull