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[I found out just the other day that a dear friend of mine from Australia has passed on after having a diabetic coma. It’s really hit me hard as I really saw her as a sister, friend, and awesome person in this world. So to her I wrote this…]

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uploadThe news came to me a week ago that someone I had known in Montreal had died – taken her life in an abrupt moment.

I question all of this in my mind. This womyn was positive, an activist, deep thinker, adventurous and really seemed to have so much going for her.

Her close friends, foreign friends, distant friends are all left wondering why? To most there wasn’t any signs that indicated that she was struggling.

But it really begs the point for me. Is there a stereotypical type of person that defines suicidal? No. Not really.

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This image draws me back to a trip a while ago when I travelled to Yurta Yurta Land with Uncle Wayne and Than-lan, a beautiful and wonderful friend.

We were sitting under this tree when Uncle Wayne told us that for years, for centuries, for a period not all that fathomable to me there had been Aboriginals gathering to collect clams, eat, and leave the “garbage” near the tree. I lay there thinking about the tree growing, collecting shells, and experiencing this connection/relationship.

At the heart of it all is…
knowledge
my heart
wisdom
change
something different
me

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Unofficially we have now had three big breakfasts. But officially we have had two serious ones with peeps that have come from various places around Melbourne to hang out, build community, talk politics, change, movements, and various issues.

What exactly is a big breakfast?

Well inspired by my friend Trianne and her housemates in Victoria they used to put on a breakfast at least once a month that anyone in Victoria (usually activisties) could attend. It was completely dumpstered food that would have normally gone to waste. I tragically was never able to actually go to any of these events and I think that slowly they disassembled because the house broke-up.

Needless to say I was always and still am impressed with their thoughts.

Building community…

I realise now after having just two of these gigs that this is such a beautiful of building community, sharing food, and just talking about sharing perspectives from lots of different ways. And I am about building community these days trying to get people together in whatever way I can. Trying to build strong connections with my neighbours and share knowledge and other things (bartering).

But yeah having the community breaky is a fabulous way of creating a nice environment to allow peeps to come over for some rad food. Yesss sir!

We’ve been serving up vegetarian dishes and vegan dishes (sour dough pancakes) and heaps of other goodies too. And the best part as of yet is that the faces just keep changing which is a pretty cool thing.

Last weekend (we are holding it the last Sunday of every month at our crib) I had a great conversation with some Italian students who were talking about the recently elected leader of the country Silvio Berlusconi. To most this man is considered a serious “right-wing facist,” which in general scares the people. Hearing a perspective on what is happening in Italy since the recent elections creates a scary perspective on what conservative governments have the potential of creating. Yes indeed some protest that these governments actually reduce debt that we pay but then I wonder at what cost? At the cost of those that are living below the living wage, at the cost of everyone through health care, those fighting for equality, and at the cost overall for society. It’s a scary reality.

But then that’s why we are growing community. That’s why I will always think differently and fight for what I believe in. Because I don’t want to create a world that benifits me but not others around me. Not others in the future that I leave it too. Not others in countries that I don’t see everyday but can feel their suffering. Nope I want more to this life then just to think about my pocket book.

I want change. I want to barter/swap/grow food. I want to share thoughts/ideas/reality. I want to work together. I want to love neighbours and know them more than a hello and bye each day. I want to break away from a system that makes me feel as though I’m not doing the right thing at 30 by not owning a house, sharing my house, and having a picket fence that’s white. I’m sorry but having a big house that isn’t fully used isn’t all that sustainable. And we as western people are lucky to have what we have…but for how long?

And no I don’t really judge those around me for living that life either. I love them as I love everyone. I think that we all have to work at this together. We all have to take on what we are comfortable with doing, and when we grow comfortable with that we can try to expand that to other things. But I do think that we have to realise that we all have an impact in this world for whatever way we want.

I have a beautiful friend that I meant at the Dreaming Festival last year named Rachel Shields. She’s aboriginal, a musician, a full of this amazing spirit to which I was immediately drawn to when I first met her. I respect for all the levels of connection she has with this sacred land. The other day I got this little ditty from her and wanted to share. Hope you enjoy it. xo

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“No man is an island, entire to itself…
Any man’s death diminishes me
Because I am involved in mankind…
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.”
– John Donnne, 1624

This quote from John Donne makes me realise a lot about my life. Where I’ve come and where I’ve been.

A great deal of my twenties was spent trying to prove to myself that I was an independent male. Converge with social western norms that dictated that in order to be attractive and strong one must be really REALLY super independent. To be independent meant that you had to be a strong as bricks. This meant that you were to not rely on other people, not ask for help, not talk to people about your problems, and certaintly not show any level of weakness. Being strong and independent meant that you should have your own house, spend time in that house, and be super SUPER successful.

It kinda makes me sad.

When I came to Australia I spent a great deal of time travelling on my own and yet interacting and trying to find community along my journey. I found myself surround by good community, beautiful people, and heaps of loving friends (close and far) all while trying to find some grounding and my true centre. (Note: To me finding my true centre is heaps different then attempting to being independent. Finding your centre is more about being strong/solid in your boundaries, thoughts, and open to growth. But not shutting out other things as independence can).

I strive to feel centred in my decisions and thoughts and follow my heart whether the decisions I make are good or bad I know there’s a reason they are happening. It’s a different approach to that of independence that benchmarks your success based on pay raises, how successful you are, and heaps of other unimportant things. I means seriously if something bad does happen due to climate change it’s what we have inside, what we have built around us, and what skills we know that are going to make us sink or swim. Read the rest of this entry »

So it’s been a massive dream to move all the contents of my house from one part of a city to another by bicycle. I all started when I was on The Otesha Project in Canada and met this amazing Food Not Bombers (well one womyn particularly) in Victoria who had moved all the contents of her place on this trailer they had built out of a stretcher used to bring peeps out of the bush.

I was in total awe and respect when I heard that I planned secretly of doing that myself.

Believe it or not we got cheered from several cafes along route which was ubber rad in my opinion. And motorists kinda just looked in respect and awe and took photos on cameras and cheered us on. Epic journey. Beautiful peeps and man I’d do it again in a heart beat!

So without further ado…

And heh if you are bored check out the first Bike Move that happened just before mine by my rad friend Kat…

Oh yeah folks it’s a freakin movement…

xo

It’s been a while since I’ve written much here. Well there’s a lot to explain. I’m working hard these days at a Fruit & Veg shop trying to avoid being broke, working on Cycle for Sustainability [soon to be Otesha (OZ)] on any day I have off, and settling into my digs here in Melbourne (read: moving next weekend via all bicycles – yes I have a bed, coach, and other big items now so it’ll be fun and about 20 KM I figure). And I’ve spent time exploring my mind, sleeping, and sending friends letters… yes old school snail mail is tre cool.

I suspect that those that used to read this are long gone and have forgotten about it all. Sorry.

But on that note of friends I have come to the orginal reason I wanted to post. It’s been really difficult at times to fully realize my dreams with this project. My goal ultimately here in Australia is to secure some serious funding for The Otesha Project (Australia), create massive tours, spread laughter/education/love/bicycle moves/groovie vibes/connect with youth/and so much more with as much of my heart as I can. I love kids man. But sometimes I freak out and think that this is a bit much and worry that it’s just not going to happen. That maybe I’m over my head, and just about to start sinking in the deep end of the pool without an energy to get back up.

Then…it’s with appropriate timing some friend of mine comes along and gives me that support, love, and energy that I need. Some through beautiful messages, some through hilarious letters or gifts, some through food, and some through money. It blows me away how supportive and rich the community of people I have around me. It brings massive tears to my eyes to know that there are so many really beautiful people working on so many amazing projects in this country, in Canada, and this world. I’m blessed to be inspired by every single one of you. To see you moving along in your lives with such great hope, strength, and determination only lights that fire under my bum higher. Makes me feel like I can do this and sure there is going to be struggles and hardships but how does a person appreciate anything without a bit of that.

Without love and community we have nothing.
That’s not true.
We have a place to sleep, a bed, a job, a life .. but that’s about it.

I want to foster more community, more sharing, more love, more giving, hope, energy, and change in our world. I really strived to be a man of independance for so long in my life and now … now I’ve sold that ticket to a different bidder and have checked into a life of being around people, learning, growth, sharing what I have, and owning no more than what I need.

Thank you for your love. Thank you for your support. Thank you for you. You may not realize but I’m watching your movements and it brings a smile to my face. What major things you are doing to try and shift, make differences, be different in your life, and grow. We can’t do this alone and we only have one place to live.

Heaps of love

Shane xo

Start of the roadtripLast weekend Chris, Bec, and myself rolled out of the Permaforest Trust seeking new adventures, time to let our hair down, and some great music! We were heading to the Bellingen Global Carnival to watch international artists rock several different stages.

Our journey started with a few late night road pops, french fries (mmm yum), and several dumpster dive sessions during our 4 hour journey down the coast. We managed to find heaps of veggies and a few other treats to feed us for the entire weekend. I have to admit that I was still quite surprised at how much we did find when we discovered the right bins…

Do I look like something out of magazine advertising Gap?

The following morning we realized that our campsite at the festival was surrounded by beautiful trees and rad neighbours. We had played a night of truth or dare and I had been dared to wear a dress at the festival for one hour (among other things). So in the morning I did a photo shoot with Chris and Bec with Bec’s beautiful dress. It was a pretty good experience to wear a skirt…

Ironically, after Bec suggested later that I should turn it into a skirt and wear it for the rest of the day I didn’t hesitate *well I felt a bit nervous but then kinda thought…man what’s the problem here this is a cool skirt*. So for the remainder of the festival I confiscated Bec’s skirt and wore it and still have it at the trust — dunno if she’ll ever get it back.

Wearing a skirt/dress kinda made me realize some things about social/gender norms that we hold about ourselves. That a male is generally thought to be strong, tough, not have a feminine side, and not to wear such things as dresses and skirts except of course kilts. There’s a cultural significants to kilts that makes this an exception.

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[I’ve been a bit busy and neglected to post this earlier…but it’s still good and important to write I think. Something I came up with while flying back to OZ. Though it’s spoke word and I kinda wish that I could have scanned in the original version with all the artwork and shit.]

What we don’t understand here

I’m looking around
Wondering what I’ve found?

All this movement,
Notions, Motions, Commotion…

Created by you
The B.C. Crew!

Your techni-colour feats
Inspire my beats…

Push the boundary
So we don’t have to live in bigotry
Save what we gots

By blowing your administration
Demand new creation

A change
From the group up isn’t so FUCKIN’ strange?
It’s easy

to become jaded, faded, & hated.

But you gotta ask yo-self what you want.
This isn’t about writing our future in a new font,
Willing a new want,
Or just talking blunt.

We want new beats.
Down with this individualist me-ME-ME BULLSHIT!
And order me a plate of community I CAN DEAL wit.