The Sun also Rises

 

 

The sun also arises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to its place where it arose.

It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other;

nothing is deprived of its warmth.

 

I’m not much for reading the Bible but I love the odd aphorism. And lately, Ecclesiastes’ “the sun also rises” and Psalm 19 have been ringing in my head.


So I thought I’d better unpack what it meant to me.


Recently, the Beloved and I sold our rural property.


What? I hear you gasp? After all these years of struggle as owner builders?


Yes, that’s true. After all those years of struggle. Being a niche, green, feminist, left-wing, activist consultant was a difficult balancing act – especially throughout the Global Financial Crisis.


I blogged about that in January 2014:


https://sarkissian.com.au/activism-planning-australia-delicate-balancing-act/


Work was hard to find and debts mounted as the house was still not finished. All our savings and super went into the building project.

 


We love it. But professional work did not come as expected.


A loving friend has bought the house and we stay on as renters.


Now we are engaged in another project: renovating the shed as a secondary dwelling. Living on a building site again. Muddy boots in the hall. Again.



Many friends and family were aghast to hear that we’d sold the farm.


But what else could we do? It was either a loving friend or the bank. And we did not want to lose everything we had worked for.

 


So I say back to my incredulous friends, “The sun also rises.”

 


What I mean is – through the same trees  – with the same birds singing – the same sun still rises and sets– whether your name is on the title or not.

 


If you do not own a property and are a renter, the same breeze blows, the same kookaburra arrives for a peek at life around dinner time. His or her same family members laugh in unison from the neighbouring tree. The same rainbow lorikeet dreams in the same bottle brush.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA




The same joey suckles with his same wallaby mother.


I am not saying that housing security is not important. It’s everything to everyone and a constant worry to anyone who is a renter. It’s everything to us, which is why we bless our generous friend.


I am simply saying that life goes on.


The Earth continues to flourish – offering hope and opportunity in response to our caring (Go, Bentley!).


The same sun rises and sets.


Our human dramas are but a small and ephemeral part of a much larger world.


We come and go and the Earth remains.


Capitalism, finance, banks, mortgages, investments, interest, valuations and property – they are all made up – and they can’t hold a candle to the same sun.


The same sun that also rises.

 

sunset nimbin

 

 

 

 



Update 23 July 2015: The sun is still rising over the hills and melting the fog in the valley.   And we have experienced even more love and care with a new friend taking over when the old friend could not continue.

 

And other generous folk helping out in numerous ways. We have learned more about generosity, caring, home, attachment, territory, resilience and fear than we bargained for.

 

And a bit about betrayal along the way, as well, just to keep the mix interesting!

 

 

 

A Bow of Gratitude to Bang the Table

March 5, 2010 – 5:36 pm

 

Bang the table

 

 

 

You may have been reading about the Australian community engagement firm, Bang the Table, recently caught up in one of those sorts of political issues that characterise community high-profile engagement – at least in some Australian states.

 

I have been concerned that the “baby might be thrown out with the bathwater” in this case and that people considering community engagement processes for their organisation might turn away from on-line presences and the many potential benefits of social networking.

 

Last December, I attended a one-day training workshop about “Planning to Engage Your Community Online” conducted by the Australian firm, Bang the Table.

 

 

See:
www.bangthetable.com

 

www.budgetallocator.com

 

www.onlinecommunityconsultation.com

 

What a treat that was for me!

 

One of the weaknesses of my work has been a reluctance to engage with electronic democracy and online consultation with the sort of furious enthusiasm that characterised the work of my firm, Sarkissian Associates Planners, and many talented colleagues I have worked with over the years.

 

Bang the Table specializes in providing web-based community engagement platforms for local, state and national governments mostly in Australia, but also in New Zealand and Canada.

 

What I learned

 

What I learned was that the approaches used by Bang the Table can make my own engagement processes livelier and friendlier. They can make them more approachable to many, including younger generations without in any way trivializing the content. I learned the benefits and weaknesses of a whole range of options, including blogs, forums, social networking (Facebook), wikis, and microblogs (Twitter) and a wide range of suggestions for incorporating images and video into the engagement discussions.

 

My engagement universe expanded. Exploded.

 

And, after three co-authored books in two years with a total of thirteen authors, I discovered, somewhat sadly, the benefits of document-sharing systems. As authors, we managed quite well communicating from Sweden, Canada, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Honolulu and France, not to mention Brisbane and me here in the bush, but it could have been much easier, my new friends explained to me. Much easier.

 

Ah well, there are new books to write and new engagement processes to undertake”¦

 

Brilliance, care and sensitivity

 

So when I saw a cartoon recently in the Sydney Morning Herald vilifying Bang the Table, I remembered the brilliance, care and sensitivity their Directors showed in their well-designed and well-managed training session.

 

As I listened to the Directors, Matt Crozier and Crispin Butteriss, I realised that my attempts to bring creativity into community engagement were being parallelled by these innovative practitioners who live in a sort of parallel universe.

 

Our approaches are complementary, not competitive. Our unique insights, innovations and techniques can work together to enhance the work of the other.

 

Welcome to my kitchen table

 

They’d be welcome at my kitchen table any time.

 

And I am convinced that together we can help to achieve kitchen table sustainability in our different – and complementary – ways.

One Sleep ’til the Windows Arrive: The joys of owner building

August 2, 2009 – 9:52 pm
The Guest Bedroom, August 2009


We’ve been living in our shed for three and a half years. House under construction for two and a half”¦

 

And on Friday the windows arrived for the guest bedroom in our house-under-construction project. It has walls, doors, a roof, a floor and almost windows.

 

Tomorrow morning at 9 am Ken is coming to help Karl install them.

 

I’ve been reflecting about how much this means to me. It’s so marvellous here these sparking winter days.

 

It’s absolutely freezing at night as we huddle around a fire on the deck in our Mexican chiminea. Then it’s up to 30 during the day.

 

Many blessings

 

I’m blessed to be living in a rural paradise, awakened by the raucous laughter of a dozen kookaburras in a nearby tree.

 

Spending late winter afternoons watching a family of five wallabies relaxing and eating the new grass shoots on the lawn.

 

I WANT TO SHARE THIS. But it’s not much of an offering to urban people who have baths and toilets and kitchens when I say I can offer a tent or a rat-infested shed. A wash under the hose.

 

A lovely prospect

 

But the prospect of putting a bouquet of fresh flowers in a vase in the guest bedroom, hanging ironed curtains on the new screened louvered windows, setting out a few good books on the bedside table, a candle, incense”¦ that is such a delightful imagining.

 

It brings a great yearning to my heart. Many dear friends have visited us in our chaotic circumstances.

 

We’ve trudged them around the muddy building site, stumbling over piles of timber and peering into unfinished rooms, gesturing where rooms could be, how the roof could go”¦

 

“I couldn’t live like this.”

 

One, appalled, could only say, “I couldn’t live like this.” Others have hugged us and offered all means of encouragement. Very great encouragement. Everyone marvels at the beauty of the place.

 

Tonight I was sharing my enthusiasm for the guest bedroom by phone with Leonie, twelve thousand miles away.

 

Maybe she’ll come to visit after Christmas. We might have the box gutter sorted out by then. I reassured her that her room is rat- and python-proof, fully mossie-proof.

 

It has a great view of the escarpment.

 

Great ventilation.

 

A private verandah. It’s very quiet. We even plan to have key locks on the guest bedroom doors so that guests can leave valuables and not be worried by our relaxed rural attitude to security.

 

So, one more sleep to an almost-ready guest bedroom. One more step toward the hospitality I dream of.

 

Feels like Christmas Eve.

 

Sad postscript the next day: The windows were too big for the spaces. It was the Builders Picinc Day in NSW (a holiday I had not heard of!) so could not sort it out.

 

Much disappointment. (Watch this space”¦)

 

A day later: Ordered new windows. We’d apparently violated some window-measuring protocol. Supposed to call it “make size” to include the window reveals (whatever that means”¦)

 

Our fault.

 

But they fit in the living room. Still, it’s not the same.

 

Ken did a great job of brushcutting instead”¦

 

Sept. 7th, 2009: The windows are in. At last! It’s gorgeous. It’s ready for guests. Cosy and homey. Not exactly “finished” but filled with love.

 

March 2010: The exterior walls are insulated and clad, two new windows added above the original ones, an internal screen door to allow for more cross-ventilation and we’ve had our first proper guest.

 

Now that we can offer the convenience of a beautiful composting toilet next door, it’s even more inviting.

 

Come to visit!

The Guest Bedroom March 2010