Tag Archives: WOMAD

Joy – an exercise in vulnerability

Last week, at WOMADELAIDE (a nearly annual pilgrimage) I spent three days listening to world music in Adelaide’s beautiful Botanic Park. The weather was delightful, the breeze cool, the food delicious and the music wonderful. I reconnected with old friends; I swayed with delight listening to Toumani and Sidiki Diabate, I sang along to Black Boys on Mopeds with Sinead O’Connor and I lay down for an hour and let the music of The Gloaming reduce me to joyful tears.

DSCN1065Within an hour of my return I was in a state of deep flow in a basket weaving class guided by my dear friend Ann Evers.  I learnt about the story telling of basketry; learnt about how plants and grasses from my local environment could be woven to create functional and beautiful items. I wove into my basket, farewell kattaks from Nepal and Tibet and a silk scarf over 35 years old that I bought in New Zealand.  It was hand printed, a serene and delicate mint colour and had become brittle with age but I could not bear to throw it out, so  I combined it with bells and reeds to make a very wonky but happy looking basket.

All this loveliness and I hesitated to write about it because I felt a bit guilty! Guilty DSCN1067for owning up to this seeming sustained self indulgence.  I felt like I should somehow justify it by sharing that I had a great need for something nice after a period of hardship. Perhaps I should itemise all the challenging things that have cropped up.  Perhaps I need to state that I am totally aware that the world is full of bad things and that having this joy doesn’t minimise my knowledge of that.  Why do I think this? Why is joy sometimes accompanied by a sense of…guilt?

The other thing I noticed has been so wonderfully described by Brene Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection.  She writes: Joy and gratitude can be very vulnerable and intense experiences. We are an anxious people and many of us have little tolerance for vulnerability…we think to our selves I’m not going to allow myself to feel this joy because I know it won’t last; or Acknowledging how grateful I am is an invitation for disaster.

I know as I lay there, feeling the power of the music of The Gloaming, tears of joy quietly rolling down my face, there was indeed that tiny little voice saying Yup and ain’t you going to come a cropper after all this loveliness?  And I realised that Yes, I might. I might be diagnosed with a terminal illness; the plane might drop from the sky on the way home; my hearing might finally give up its tenuous hold on usefulness and call it quits. Any number of disasters could befall.  But whether they happened in the future or not, right then and there, in that moment, I was experiencing joy.  I could miss it worrying by the future mights, or I could enjoy it.  And the memories of experiencing that joy could sustain me and give me resilience to face what comes.

So I did. Experienced joy. Grinning like an idiot. Counting my blessings – the dappled sunlight, the music, men with the voices of angels, the ears to hear it, the lovely bloke lying next to me (making it work!), gluten free cider….



Adelaide etc.

On Monday I was mindful of kangaroos and emus on the road as I travelled the 600 km back from Adelaide after a fabulous frenzy of festivals.  The only kangaroos I saw were dead ones (perhaps my friend Deb’s gardening buddy Joe had passed through the night before!)  but there were scores of emus (live ones!) and I was mindful of the fact that if one strikes out across the road, a second will inevitably follow.  We made it home without hitting anything, even the kamikaze bush mouse that flirted with death near Yunta.

Did you know that there is one cafe at Burra that gives Gluten Free bread its bad name and makes a lousy hamburger but that another one, the Gaslight, makes a fantastic GF Chocolate and Date Cake and has a wonderful old books collection?  Deisel and Dust 2

Did you know that the ruined house used for Midnight Oil’s Deisel and Dust album is just outside Burra and nowhere near the Centre? As previously thought.  And we discovered that that self same ruin is becoming VERY ruined indeed and the target of a fundraising campaign to make it less precariously ruined without diminishing its ruinedness.

BamboosIt was Mad March in Adelaide which truly lived up to its reputation of Festival City.  With my darling friend Jane, I saw Frank Woodley and Simon Yates in Inside as part of the Fringe Festival.  Cleverly staged, dark, and thought provoking.  I heard one of my favourite authors, Toni Jordan, at the Writers’ Festival (and went up and said hello to her and we reminisced about an email exchange we had when I lived in Nepal.  As you do. Nine Days is a MUST READ!!! ) And we caught up with lovely friends and listened to fantastic music at one of my favourite annual pilgrimages, WOMAD.  Highlights this year were Aussies: The Bamboos, Mia Dyson and Cat Empire.  Another highlight was Mari Boine, a Sami from Norway.  Among others!  The odd CD was purchased.

And now it’s back to work.  On Friday, Jane dragged me into a craft shop would you believe and so, just to keep her quiet, I followed.  Lucky me-they had some plaster cloth which was exactly what another friend Rusty had suggested may make my bust making a bit easier.  RUSTY YOU ARE SOOOOOO RIGHT.  Transformed the future baby!  Photos soon but boy oh boy.  Plaster cloth may just be the beginning of a new creative direction and what an exciting, if slightly messy, thought that is.

I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes from Toni J:

Most people miss their whole lives, you know.  Listen, life isn’t when you are standing on top of a mountain looking at a sunset.  Life isn’t waiting at the altar or the moment your child is born or that time you were swimming in a deep water and a dolphin came up alongside you.  These are fragments.  10 or 12 grains of sand spread throughout your entire existence.  These are not life.  Life is brushing your teeth or making a sandwich or watching the news or waiting for the bus.  Or walking.  Every day, thousands of tiny events happen and if you’re not watching, if you’re not careful, if you don’t capture them and make them COUNT, you could miss it.  You could miss your whole life.