Author Archives: Pauline Vetuna

Harsha Walia Interview – Defining Border Imperialism

Highly recommend watching and absorbing the knowledge Harsha Walia shares in this – it will take just 13 and a half minutes out of your day:

Joe – The Gardener ~ Green Renaissance

I just wanted to share this clip packed with wisdom with you 🙂

Just watch:

Attached to nothing, connected to everything.

I barely had a summer vacation period, but my year – really, next two years – of creative work (film, art, writing, poetry, etc) and service official starts tomorrow. Spending this evening getting spiritually centred, and this is my mantra:

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I have the blessing of the Divine. Feeling tremendously grateful.

‘How can people of colour best discover themselves?’ Manal Younus Talk

I love and relate to this! Here’s to activating Black spaces in a white colony!

I was just having a conversation with a friend (a fellow Black person) yesterday about the importance of Black spaces and (self) representation: of ourselves. of our stories, of our images, of our art. And then I came across performance poet Manal Younus’ TEDxAdelaide Talk on Facebook.

I had the good fortune of meeting this trail blazing woman last year. Manal Younus is a writer, performance artist and creative producer in Adelaide. As a Muslim with Eritrean origins living in Australia, Manal has used her work to spark discussion amongst audiences and communities.

Manal has performed around Australia including at the Sydney Opera House, featured on ABC television’s Q&A program and was a finalist for Young South Australian of the year in 2016. Manal released ‘Reap’, her self-published book of poetry in 2015. You can purchase it HERE.

In thisTEDxAdelaide Talk, Manal Younus explores the importance of ownership, representation and creating spaces where people of colour can discover themselves away from the white gaze. Basically, she breaks down for white folk why we need our own spaces, by us and for us, in order to be whole, healthy people in the world.

(The African-run space Manal talks about in the talk – the one that nourished her soul and inspired her – inspired me in the same way. How I wish I had had a space like that when I was an isolated and damaged teenager.)

They (try) to block progress; but we will block retrograde regression

Some words from Angela Davis, about the goal for the next few years:

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Get woke, stay woke, and with a heart of love and righteous rage, stay ACTIVE.

It’s the way you exist in the world.

I love this. Jesi Taylor, a proud Black woman who has the skin condition Vitiligo, speaks about coming to a place of self acceptance, and gaining an appreciation of true beauty. I don’t have Vitiligo but I relate so much to her early hatred for her body, and the arduous journey of learning to love hers in a world that constantly sent signals to her that her body was wrong, weird… unacceptable. Listen to her lived-experience-earned wisdom:

When healing is your day job.

I saw this meme the other day and I absolutely love it; it resonates with me as someone who has gone through and had to heal from severe clinical depression, the effects of various types of self harm, extreme anxiety, agoraphobia, PTSD, and bipolar swings (all of which were caused by structural/social marginalisation and unusual, externally induced trauma… but that will be explored in another post). Trust me on this: be completely and utterly compassionate towards yourself, and take the time to heal and re-centre, unapologetically 🙂

Anyone who would judge you for doing so, is a fool.

Take your time… be well.

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RELATED: Just saw two people discussing this on Facebook – HEALING FROM TOXIC WHITENESS free online workshop for white people. I’m obviously not white, but toxic whiteness has been one of various causes of mental distress in my life. Art, Activism, community and my indigenous spirituality is how I’m healing from it 🙂

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Too deadly, Sultana

Tash Sultana wearing an Aboriginal flag t-shirt as she performs ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ (first seen on through Young Black n Deadly fb page)

It’s a beautiful day and I am fully present 🙂 I hope you have a beautiful day too.

Highly recommend following Young Black n Deadly fb page too… it’s a beautiful page and community.

Telling a specific story.

Barry Jenkins, director of Moonlight, on telling a specific and not universal story. I saw this film on Sunday; it is a nuanced telling of the story of a Black boy living in poverty in Miami during the ‘War On Drugs’ era, coming to terms with his sexuality in a hyper-masculine subculture.

 

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Related post from way back in 2010 here.

Re-Post from 2012: ‘Sincere Way’

Beautiful evening 🙂 Below is an edited excerpt of a blog post I published here in 2012. Remembering this wisdom that was generously shared with me, for 2017 and beyond…

Late last year, I had the good fortune of sitting down and chatting with John Foster, mental health nurse, counselling support worker, and karate teacher/practitioner. I had seen in a local magazine for people with disabilities a small advert for a “Wheelchair Karate” class John was running out of the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre, of which I am a former inpatient. So, I picked up the phone and made contact.

A few weeks later, I interviewed him. I was curious as to how John came to this particular type of karate, his background. John is third dan black belt and teaches as well – karate is a way of life for him, it is very much integrated into his lifestyle. We talked about the physical side of karate, of course – how he adapted certain moves and sequences for wheelchair users, how he teaches the class from a wheelchair, and how he plans to grow the program. John also explained to me how he had been attracted to the idea that Seidō was ‘karate for all’.

The ‘Magnanimous Heart’.

Seidō was founded by Master (Kaicho) Tadashi Nakamura in New York City, 1976. What sets this style of karate apart from others is that it incorporates a physical, traditional style and Zen meditation. John said that Kaicho says how the karate should come from ‘magnanimous heart’.

Magnanimous essentially means generous in forgiving; eschewing resentment or revenge; being unselfish. Nobility in mind and heart. In the context of karate, John said this means that it should be ‘karate for all.’  Not merely for those who are coordinated and physically powerful, but available to anybody who wants to try it.

It is with this magnanimous heart, coupled with a long history of association with spinal cord injury services and his role in the Spinal Community Integration Service [SCIS] at Royal Talbot, that John decided to try to adapt this style of karate for anyone who wants to participate in it. Thankfully, he persevered, and last year pioneered the first courses, which he planned to continue this year.

The ‘Sincere Way’.

Karate is of course very much about doing, but there is a well-developed philosophy behind this style of the martial art form.

Much of this is encapsulated right there in its name.

In Japanese, Seidō translates as SEI: “sincere” and DO: “way.”

The word SEI carries the connotation of “calm” or “silence”.

The word DO carries the connotation of “energy” or “activity”.

In Seidō one strives to reach his/her own individual balance of these two principles.

Inner calmness, outer activity.

BALANCE.

Humility and the “beginners mind”

There is something else about Seido karate I think is pretty awesome, and it is of course connected to practicing magnanimous heart: the concept of humility in practice, something called Sho-shin, or “beginner’s mind” – essentially, if you think you’re an expert, you’re probably not open to learning anymore. John explained that before a person is promoted to a higher level of karate, they go back to a white belt, for 6-8 weeks, to get in touch with that beginners mind. They stand at the end of the line, and do the basics. It is a good grounding exercise, to go from a senior line back into a junior line, in order to appreciate yourself and the people around you. Whilst it takes a lot of individual commitment and effort to achieve your own development, the support of others around you makes it possible. Interdependence is important.

Practitioners of this martial art are invited to hold “beginner’s mind” at all times.

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