Birthday: May 15, 1950
Education: Bach Arts (Eng, Ling), P/G Dips Media, Social Science
Occupation: Grief & Bereavement Counsellor, Celebrant, Operations Manager, Teacher/Adult Educator
Please describe your vision of a world that works for everyone.
Just as children play, eat and learn together, readily accepting others (when they’re in a safe place), so too, we adults can study, work, play and be together; we can extend their openess and acceptance into our adolescent and adult lives. We can re-learn this and integrate it into our everyday lives. The earth is the only planet where we can live; regardless of whether we like others or not, whether they’re our neighbours or not, whether they have the same religious, political or cultural outlook, regardless of their skin colour, face shape or their language, we have to be able to be together for our own and the earth’s mid- and long-term survival and for our own short-term well-being. Helping each other esp in natural disasters is critical. So is practicing peace. Societies full of people with integrity. (Minimum 50 words)
What do you see as the most pressing problems facing the world today?
Greed (taking and keeping more than we need); ego-centricity esp exacerbated by economic rationalism (the idea that we’re each only wanting the best for ourselves); discriminatory behaviours & ideas ie prejudice e.g. to animals, people with limited education, disabilities, women, those from countries and cultures that are different to the one/s we know/like ; poverty (with consequent poor nutrition, disease, inadequate housing, lack of education) and wealth – the imbalance of these extremes; lack of or limited education; destruction of the earth and it’s resources for limited uses; fears; over-attachment; violence and guns, knives; issues behind over-population; weapons that can easily destroy masses of people, plants, animals; low self-esteem; poor governance & weak, compromised leadership (of banks, public institutions, governments and “big business”; hatred; domination of mass media in the lives of many people along with over-advertising.
How do you feel these problems could best be solved?
Education is a good place to start. Especially training teachers so that they love teaching and so that they pass this love on to their students; train them to promote acceptance and harmony within the class and the school/college, to value simple things in life, resolve conflicts graciously and well; teach the basic skills, fostering investigation and questioning; involve parents and family as much as possible. Provide education for adults who’ve “missed out” eg from poor backgrounds, migrants, disabled. Include everyday skills such as growing food, sharing produce, cooking, building shelters, furniture and mattresses. Enable schools to be at the centre of villages and in use day and night. Make sure everyone learns to read and write. Teach about rights and responsibilities. Give leadership training with a broad base. Have easily-accessible special education for those with special needs and disabilities. Practical experiential education wherever possible and relevant. Promote peace, interaction, integration, inclusivity.
Other ideas, not in particular order:
Have governments that are non-adversarial and that are socio-economically and demographically fair; limit the amount of money politicians can spend on campaigning. Have taxes that spread the wealth throughout society and communities. Have policies where the “bottom line” takes into consideration the next seven generations esp related to wastes, the air, the water and the earth.
Have healthy communities with good leaders; and nearby work that engages people’s hearts and minds, provides equal pay, is non-discriminatory and has child-care attached. Give them regular safe water, sanitation, health clinics, libraries, transport (esp cycleways) and social/community support.
Introduce Gareem Banks and micro-financing into poor communities to end the poverty traps. Provide basic and practical education, social training and values in goals.
Natural and beautiful things like wood, glass, gardens, forests, beaches, the moon and the dark sky have special places in my heart and life. In quieter moments I like cycling, walking and spending time both in the bush and on the beach. I like being with people especially learning and laughing together. Reading good books and listening to music that tingles my spine are also significant in my life. Sometimes I’ve been in local theatre productions.
An interest in being ‘centred’ and in the big questions of life has drawn me to Chi Gong, Tai Chi, Aikido, Dru Yoga, Buddhist practices, Shiatsu, Macrobiotics and Permaculture. I like learning, experiencing and investigating.
Singing is always fun – performing (mostly in choirs) and listening to singers and music especially at Festivals and outdoors is my preference. My friends are recommending ukele, so I just might get one and join a group – there are plenty of them in Australia these days.
A long time ago, after six years of High School, I studied three years of Speech Pathology – psychology, physiology, biology, anatomy, neurology, linguistics, speech and language disorders etc. Then I worked in Canberra and Sydney, mostly with children with speech and language difficulties before travelling in Asia and overland from Kathmandu to London for 4 months – I think that’s when I started living!!
In the early 80’s I studied Social Sciences in Sweden. By 1991, I’d also completed a course in Mass Media. As part of that course I developed and published a pictures-only chart on how to make paper. This was sent to schools, environmental groups and community organisations all over the world.
In the 90’s I moved from the busy-ness of Sydney to a small coastal town about 4 hours south of Sydney, where I hand-made paper (and co-ordinated making the World’s largest sheet of handmade, recycled paper), grew some of my food, taught at the Technical College, co-ordinated the community Meals on Wheels Service and began work as a marriage celebrant. [In Australia people can be licenced to conduct legal marriages]. It’s especially rewarding to conduct funerals. Being a celebrant draws on lots of my skills while engaging my heart and my mind.
In 2005, I moved to an even smaller location (rural and isolated) and to another state because I was a founding member of a buddhist community and retreat centre. Again, I happily made paper, joined others in growing food organically, sang in a choir and lead a more spiritual life. Recently I left the community.
Over the years I’ve also been involved in Event Management (Bike Rides, Summer Games, Retreats), Public Services (Child Welfare, Health and Energy) and in community development (welfare, recreation, social justice, rainforest regeneration, permaculture and volunteer work).
Apart from travelling in Australia, I’ve had the good fortune to have been overseas to some exotic and delightful places like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Iran, Crete and Turkey. I lived and studied in Stockholm for a year; and have visited relatives in USA. Supporting and visiting villagers in East Timor has been significant in this last decade; previously i’ve volunteered with World YWCA in Nepal, India, Crete, Cook Islands.
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As A Man Thinketh
Jonathan Livingston Seagull