Plastic bottles, life and everything...

Yani was thirsty after a beautiful morning surf. 

I handed him our old beaten up metal water bottle that I had filled before we left that morning. 

Over the past days I had been suggesting he should change over to to the metal bottle (even though it was smaller) - because the reusable plastic one (he had won in a competition) was bad for him. I told him that it made the water taste funny and could affect his hormones and make it harder to make babies. 

[Interwoven with this discussion was my commenting on the (media hyped) zika virus and new evidence pointing to the real culprit being new chemicals used to damage the larvae of mosquitos in water tanks in Colombia and Brazil. zika virus, microcephaly and pesticide connection The tragedy of increasing birth defects - especially in the poorest of the poor communities - often in places where parents have no other choice but to work in chemical laden agriculture or floriculture industries - sheds light on so many issues. Why the panic over the new zika virus and its possible threats to privileged populations? It all means increased profits to the companies, hand in hand with the media tycoons, who will invariably develop new ‘essential’ vaccines to contain the spread, or breed and release genetically modified mosquitos (opening another pandora box).]

Anyway, Yani took a big gulp and said - 'oh yeah, you’re right Mum, it tastes so much better!’. And I said; ‘yep, and I think the world will be a better place with your babies in it’ - or something like that!

Then Pacha piped up and said; ‘but isn’t it bad to have kids now with the world we have created?’

I was blindsided and in the before school rush couldn’t really reply properly, mumbling ‘of course you can’ mainly because I have an automatically positive response setting to most curly questions - but the thought of the answer has been dancing around on the edge of my consciousness in the hours since…

Should my children have children? 

Can my children even have children??

It was a question like one I had often asked of myself (should I have children?), as an activist who was (too) aware of the world and the way it was going. And yet, fate (and enough hope) conspired and here I am with the loves of my life beside me.

No doubt things have gotten worse. And yet, and yet, the ecstasy of life gives forth to new life!

So I will say to them when they come home from school;  'yes; of course you can have children if you choose! You will find a beautiful place, person(s) and way to live; simply and naturally, adapting and changing to whatever circumstance you find yourself in. Everything about this existence is a miracle!' 

Prescript on plastic water bottles;
The day, before I had accompanied a friend who had insisted on buying me something to eat from the bakery so not to be eating alone. When he reached in the store’s fridge to grab a bottle of water for me I said; ‘no thanks - I don’t drink those!’. The woman behind the counter responded in alarm; ‘what’s wrong with our water?’. I kept it short (no need to going into plastics, and health and water quality and hormones and multinational corporations privatising water and the global economy  (etc, etc) and just said;
 ‘oh, I pick up too many plastic bottles at the beach every morning - I prefer to bring my own water bottle.’.
Her eyes told me she wasn’t impressed... 
And it reminded me how hard it is to summon the strength to buck the system - in these little, every day things - without causing offence... 
Our miraculous mornings...


A very slow New Year Mother Blog!

Slow Mother Blog
Jan 11 2016

As the weeks have slipped past, it has been harder to come back to this - this slow life story. 

Sorry for being so very slow...

Happy New Year everyone. I’m sure you, like me, have made your prayers for a more peaceful world, for our hearts to be at peace with the world. We have had a very relaxed and easy time with family and friends…we let go of the crazy consumer pressure of Christmas and just spent quality time with each other instead. We’ve also had the the lovely visit and stay of a French junior surfer - as an exchange from a board riders club in Hossegor. We were so happy to offer our small space to provide an opportunity for someone - it was a positive influence for us all. 

Somehow, for me at this point in my life, celebrating every magical sunrise seems as important as celebrating little ‘wins' here and there out in the world. I battle with my own cynicism (that I’m certain I never used to have) when it comes to the outcome of world meetings like COP21…I am doubtful that political world leaders can change anything, but it was so heartening to the clear, positive spirit of the young and indigenous people spreading a message through action. 

I am not satisfied with my capacity. I don't think is so much laziness as a kind of paralysis…there was and is so much more I wanted to be doing in the follow up to that wonderful (but quick) Japan tour. So many people to thank…especially in processing the deep ecology workshops that went deeper than I could have imagined. It was such an honour to facilitate these workshops with such a powerful circle of Earth healers and I look forward to the next opportunity.
Meanwhile, here, our daily life, joyful as it is, repeats itself - simple pleasures, lovely connections, daily exhilarations  in the sun and waves, meaningful moments with friends, family and strangers alike. 

As the challenge of reconciling the weight of knowledge of the world remains constant - I find myself (happily) being pulled, more and more, into the orbit of my children - my glowing suns…

And they have been flaring lately. Pacha went beyond anyone’s expectations in her surfing - coming 2nd in the under 16s National junior surfing competition, which qualifies her for the world junior surfing competition to be held in the Azores Islands this September.  Somehow, we will have to find a way to get there (I didn’t even know such islands existed in the middle of the Atlantic ocean!) and keep exploring this surfing adventure!

Pacha came 2nd in Australia in under 16 girls...
And Yani is quietly making an impression with this humble talents, patience and gentle manner.  Just last week I went to pick him up at the crowded skate park. A lady I didn’t know approached me and asked if he was my son and said he had the most lovely demeanour she had seen. He has made himself another surfboard (thanks to the help of Clayton - a surf shaper/coach) and has realised that just about everything comes to him if he lets go of wanting things too much.
Yani made his own fibreglass surfboard...

When these things happen tears well up for me. There is so much gratitude that, despite the unconventional way we live, Pacha and Yani seem to shine and I (along with my Mum) bask in their glow! 




Be the ChangeCDは、パチャとヤニと一緒に、そして松谷冬太さんたちナマケモノ倶楽部の仲間に助けてもらいながら、横浜にある素敵なストローベイルのカフェ・デラ・テラ(戸塚、善了寺)で太陽光発電を使って収録しされました。それから2年以上になります。その間に世界は悪い方に変わってきたように思います。その世界に向けて、このCDを発信する時が、いよいよやって来ました。



そして、そこで歌った歌こそが、全てのイベントに共通する躍動感の源となりました。誰もが参加しひとつになれるコーラスライン。「Be the Change」、「We still have Hope」、「Thinking like a Mountain」、「飛べクリキンディ」、皆さんと歌っていると、今までの2年間が2週間だったような気がしました!想いを同じくする人たちの「善意」が集まってくるのだと疑いなく信じられることの喜びが、ひとつひとつのイベントを特別なものにしてくれました。







こうして、今回のツアーを通して元気をもらいすっきりした気持ちになれたのもナマケモノ倶楽部(ナマケモノの皆さん)のお陰です。私たちは皆、17年間にわたって日本の運動に希望、創造力やひらめきを与え続けてきたナマケモノ倶楽部の重要性を、Be the Changeツアーを通して再認識したのではないでしょうか。今回の気づきや学びを、もう少しゆっくり深めることができるよう、次回の来日(20166月・7月)を楽しみにしています!














'Be the Change' Japan Tour 2015

Be the Change
Japan Tour 2015

Twelve days of resurrecting hope…

It had been more than two years since Pacha, Yani and I (with the help of an amazing Sloth team led by Naoko and Fuyuta-san) recorded the ‘Be the Change’ CD in the beautiful solar, straw-bale temple, Café De la Terra, in Yokohama. Now it was time to release it – to a world that, to be completely honest, seems to have been changing for the worse...

Over the past two years, its been like watching a horror story - Japan sliding into a more fearful, disconnected country as its politicians refuse to learn and change. Despite the lessons of war, the peace constitution was broken. Despite the continuing nightmare of Fukushima, nuclear power plants were restarting. And then there was the TPP, GMO’s, climate chaos, the collapse of the bee population, young people committing suicide…What could we possibly say or do in Japan to encourage people?

And yet, during the first event on the first day in a non descript grey room in a gloomy grey city, I felt such a smile spread on my face and my heart fill with love – hope is here! It is in the hearts of people of all walks of life who never give up, who do what they can do in spite of what seems like overwhelming odds, who are not scared to raise their voice in song and not afraid to let their tears flow for the love they feel for life…I knew, during that event, organised by the PAL system group, that this visit would be re-energizing and re-affirming; we know why we are here and we know what we need to do. We share a vision of the world we want to live in!

From that moment the tour itself became a bit of a blur; there were two or three events every day in different parts of the country - organised by a huge diversity of groups and individuals all working in a wide diversity of ways to heal the Earth. There were concerts in temples, cafes, bakeries, lecture halls, festivals and traditional houses; in the big city and in the quiet mountains. 

The common pulse of all the events were the songs themselves; the chorus lines we could all join in as one; ‘Be the Change’, ‘We still have Hope’, ‘Earth my Body, Water my Blood, Air my Breath and Fire my spirit’, ‘Fly Kurikindi’… and it seemed that the last two years had flown by as quickly as two weeks! It felt so good to be able to trust completely that audiences were coming to the events with a similar intention with a ‘good heart’ and that made every event special. 

We met so many, many old friends and so many new ones – young and old!
As well as reconnecting with our dear ‘Sloth family’, including founders Keibo Oiwa and Ryuichi Nakamura, I met many friends and activists I hadn’t seen for over 20 years - including Aileen Mikoto Smith – and we all seemed to share a common view; we need a deep and radical systemic shift in order for life to go on.  

It was exciting to meet two dear friends in different parts of the country who had been elected to different levels of government. Masuda-san is now a senator – while, the last time I met her she was a humble Mother working on a local level to do something about the health of the children affected by Fukushima fallout in the Chiba area. Fujimon is now a local councillor in Itoshima, while the last time I met him he was a sweet, shy hippy-type who left the city to follow his dream to live a simple, organic life with his partner. He took us to visit the sacred shrine in his area and told us the story of how, when their recently converted organic farm was being over taken by a plague of insects, he and his partner decided to try singing to the pests – gently appealing to them to share the crop. It seems this story became part of their election campaign; and people were attracted to support such kind and genuine people. Yes, it seems it is time for the ‘meek’ and humble people to lead the way!

It appears that, in response to the wave of militaristic violence being inflamed by the PM, people are choosing non-violence, not only in their marches and demonstrations, but in the very way they choose to communicate with each other, in the way they organise. Non-Violent Communication, along with Deep Ecology are becoming catch phrases in a newly energised, diverse, creative and loving movement…This was a theme of the events organised by (best selling author) Keibo Oiwa too – at his ‘Slow Small School’ we looked at the example of the ‘most gentle and peaceful people of humankind’, the Penan tribe, as an example and reminder of how to be ‘human’.

This was also something we talked about in Nagano, in the mountains – the watershed – of Japan. There, local groups are being challenged by a new train line that promises even faster travel between Tokyo and Osaka – but means blasting tunnels through the heart of Japan…we ask; ‘Why so fast’?
It was a joy to travel with my daughter, Pacha, who is gracefully moving into womanhood now – empowered and capable. Standing beside her on stage, with her voice and presence clear and strong, felt so natural…we are individuals and we are one! She was so happy to be able to bring her surfboard along this time and make new friends in the surfing world in Japan. And next time we’ll bring along her dear brother Yani, who loves Japan so much!

There were so many kids in this tour – they seemed to lead the way, reminding us what we were doing and why, and how we should be doing it! Almost every organiser introduced us to their kids, and there were either babies in laps, or playing in the corners, or joining in on stage – ‘children’ (and how to nurture them!) seemed to be a most popular topic of conversation!

Thanks to the Sloth Club, we are invigorated and refreshed! The ‘Be the Change’ tour has reminded us all about how important the Sloth Club has been over the past 17 years, in keeping hope, creativity and inspiration alive in the movement in Japan. We look forward to the next visit (June/July 2016), with a little more time and a little more space to go a little deeper!


On the Road...

It has been so long since I've sat down to write - my mind speeds ahead and the moment is gone! Almost every day I have thought about our upcoming trip to Japan in just two weeks - reconnecting with our friends and Sloth family and reviving so many memories over the past 25 years...
I've been following events that I know are touching my friends in Japan deeply; the frightening determination of the Abe government to erase the pacifist constitution, restart nuclear power stations and ram through the TPP corporate trade agreement. And I've been thinking about the sad situation with many young people in Japan - the increasing rate of suicide, especially around the time that school starts every year. I've also been thinking about the inspiring million mothers campaign - reclaiming democracy and celebrating connection. 
Hope has stayed alive in the faces of open hearted joy and empowerment in the images of people's action on the streets - people from all walks of life, and so many young people and families ready to speak (and sing and dance) their truth. Thank you for representing life! Thank you for representing hope!
Over the past few weeks we have been getting more and more swept up into the vortex of surfing ( actually - competition surfing). As Pacha works hardto improve her skills, she is entering more competitions - which means we've been traveling all around the country (in our old van). There are so many bits and pieces to think about and juggle - surfboards and equipment, nutrition, getting entries in, thanking sponsors, keeping up with school and, most important of all, staying in close contact and support of our friends and family.
We just came back from travelling thousands of kilometres over 2 weeks, to 3 different competitions in Sydney and near Melbourne. Our original plan was to squeeze into the van to sleep every night - which we have done before - but it's not so very comfortable (especially for Yani!). We were so grateful when a variety of friends and family opened their doors (instead of just their driveways for us to park in) and we had warm, dry, flat places to stay every night. There were precious moments of connection - sharing meals, music, and surfing stories - catching up in person after year of only 'on-line' communication.
The journey took us to many new places, beautiful, wild and sacred places - reminding us of the vast distances and space of this country. It was inspiring to see the confidence from both Pacha and Yani, jumping into new oceans - whipped up by strong winds and tides, dancing and playing in the waves. They impressed me with their strength and resilience - surfing in freezing cold ocean temperatures (12C) on one day then sitting for 6 hours in a 39C car on our way home the next day (no air conditioning)!
We kept our hearts strong - with the realisation that our friends will always be our friends - no matter if life takes us in different directions. That nature is always there - powerful and awe inspiring - making human civilisation and endeavours rather insignificant. We will be back in Japan soon, sharing our hope, our songs, our new realisations and our shared vision for a positive future. We look forward to seeing you...

Here are a few photos from our recent surfing road trip:


ヤニの木製サーフボードづくり -アロハの気持ちとアレイア―



 彼はまた、自分が作った、フィンのない、「アレイア」という木製のサーフボード-初めてサーフィンをした人として知られるハワイの土着の人々から着想を得ています-も持って帰ってきました。それは、彼のホームステイの受け入れ先は、地元バイロンベイでWooden Anchor(木製の錨)木工所を営む友人と協力し、持続可能な育ち方をした桐の木を伐り出し、ヤニが作業できる余材を作ってくれました。ヤニはデザインについて深く考え、かなり独創的で芸術的なデザインを思いつきました。それは、下部が凹型をした非対称的なデザインで、私たちがゴールドコーストの波が方向を変えるポイントで乗るような波を捕まえるのに有利なように特別に作られているのです。ヤニは、このサーフボードづくりの経験をちょっとした動画にまとめました。それはこちらでご覧になれます。Yani's Alaia project(ヤニのアレイア計画)