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.


For everyone who has ever been misunderstood…

…and who has experienced unfair projections from other people. This message is for you:

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‘Decolonise your mind’ and other work by Torika Bolatagici

Y’all know the tagline for this blog is ‘Decolonising my mind’. Well I just came across – and was reminded of – this work by my beautiful sister in law, Torika Bolatagici:

‘Decolonise your mind’

Torika is a lecturer in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University, Melbourne where she teaches contemporary theory and practice. Her PhD ‘Somatic Sotia: Commodity, Agency and the Fijian Military Body’ was recently submitted for examination at the School of Art and Design, University of New South Wales.

Torika works across a range of media, including photography, video and mixed media site-specific installation.  Her interdisciplinary practice investigates the relationship between visual culture, human ecology,  postcolonial counternarrative and visual historiography of the Black Pacific. She is interested in exploring the tensions and intersections between gender, embodied knowledge, commodification, migration and globalization.

Her work has been exhibited in New York, San Francisco, Mexico City, Yogyakarta and throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at local and international conferences and symposia about the representation of mixed-race identity; Pacific arts practice in Australia and Fiji; representations of teachers and teaching in cinema; and gender and militarism in the Pacific.

More on Torika and her work HERE.