She said, “It’ll make you sad to look at it”

Those who know me well enough will know that all I really want to do is to build a cabin in the woods and plant fruit trees.

If not for the speaking tours, the activism, the activist training, if not for the workshops with school students and prison inmates, and the resilience training seminars… If not for all of the things that continue to draw me out into the world, all I really truly want to do is to just be still, build a cabin and plant thousands of fruit trees.

And yet I seem to always be living on the road and out of a bag.

A few years ago, on one of my visits to Sydney whilst on tour, I decided to take my grandmother to the nursery and told her to buy whatever she wanted for the garden.

She loves gardening and she loves her roses and her lemon trees but doesn’t spend much money on the tools and fertilisers and seedlings she really wants because my grandparents both on a pension while paying off a mortgage and at the time they were looking after my dying great-grandmother.

So on that visit to Sydney, I took her on a shopping spree at the nursery and insisted that she buy whatever she wants. She kept checking price tags and I kept telling her not to worry about it.

Along with the things we needed for the garden I added a tiny little orange tree seedling, that was a while away from giving fruit.

My grandmother saw it and gently said “No Erfan, not this one.”

“Why not?” I asked, “it’s not expensive at all, don’t worry”

She said “no, I don’t want us to plant this tree in our yard. I might not give fruit until after we are gone, and it’ll make you sad to look at it”

I pleaded and said to please let us plant this tree, that it won’t make me sad but happy that at least we planted something together.

It’s been a few years since that day, and in all of the hustle and bustle of life, I had forgotten about that orange tree and forgotten of that day even.

Tonight, my grandparents sent me this photo of an orange from that very tree…

 

 

The photo of this orange and the memory of that day came rushing back to me. A tree I had planted years ago, and forgotten about, had finally given fruit…

Do those things you’ve been meaning to do. Don’t ever tell yourself that it’s too late, too soon, too much, or not enough. Just do those things you’ve been meaning to do.

Apologise to the people you’ve thrown your own shit at, and own it. Tell your family that you love them, and mean it.

Do things that will reverberate through eternity, even when we are unsure if we will.

Acknowledge mortality, do not ignore it. And despite your awareness of it, act bravely and risk your heart, your soul, your all.

Even it if all ends tomorrow, take your parents on that picnic or that overseas trip.

Pay attention to the things that you love. When the light is fading and the sun is setting is when some things are most beautiful.

Spend time with your grandparents. And most importantly… Go and plant trees with them. Because whether they are here to witness it or not, those trees will fruit, and those fruits will be sweet.

And even if we cease to exist, at least we threw something into the abyss of eternity.

 

 

Erfan Daliri

The beginnings of a social change movement

 

 

This word Newkind means a lot to me. It means everything to me… And the emotion that it evokes in us all, the visions it inspires, the hope and the comfort that we each draw from it, and the love that you all pour forth for it, it comes with a heavy responsibility. It comes with a weight that must be carried with care and respect.

 

When I read you telling me that this is ‘the movement you have been preparing for your whole life’, or that you are here to give everything you have, or when you tell me of the dreams you have also had of it, when you give so much of yourselves so freely, I do not take that lightly. I do not take that lightly at all.

 

So when I say it comes with a weight I do not mean a heavy burden, but rather the weight of the respect that I ascribe your words and your feelings. It is the respect that I have for you, and your life force and your words, that causes me to take so seriously each and every move and turn that this movement takes.

 

Everything from obeying road rules when entering and leaving the festival site, to the taste and timeliness of the food, the calibre of inspirational speakers, the clarity of our collective message for change and even the cleanliness of the toilets, all weigh on my mind and keep me up at night.

 

Not for a few months of the year, or even most of the year, but for every single that it exists. Much like having a child; once it is born, you never don’t have a child anymore. Near or far, you always have part of your awareness on the safety, security and well-being of your child. Even when asleep.

 

On top of that, there is the love each of you has poured into making this thing come to life that makes it even more precious to me. Though we gather once a year to celebrate our progress and prepare for further activism and change, there is never a moment that Newkind is not on my mind. Newkind is my breath now and it controls the rhythm of my heart.

 

Every piece of positive feedback or wonderful memory you share with me makes my heart rush with joy, and every blemish, detraction or shortcoming that I might have been able to foresee and mitigate against, causes my heart to race and my whole world goes dark for a moment or two.

 

I am not doing this for shits and giggles, and I know how seriously many of you also take this. This is one of those forever things. This is one of those roots firmly planted grow tall things. This is one of those inextinguishable things. Those once released untamable things. It is not a festival or a personal project, or a mechanism to serve ego or the needs of those at its core. It is the very beginning of something not even I can foresee to its fullest.

 

This is an act of service. And sometimes service takes everything from us and leaves us exhausted, exasperated, spent and penniless, and with nothing more than a feeling in the centre of our chest and a smile on our tired faces. Sometimes that is what it takes to be of service. And this I knew full well when I started this; for a burden is not a burden when carried with joy.

 

And what I would like to reassert is that I am taking some time to consider the future and the trajectory of this thing we have called Newkind. And in order to have a well-round understanding, I would like to read even more of your emails. Your thoughts, concerns even, and your feelings. For I wish to honour the love you offer this idea.

 

Even with a team of 120 crew, the final responsibility for the safety of everyone on site, their happiness, the financial obligations and most importantly of all, the representation of the philosophy, the message and the mission all rests with me. And I will do everything in my powers to protect and nurture this fledgeling movement.

 

And because of how much your time, your love and your energy means to me, and how seriously I take the protection of the vision and representation of this movement, I ask you all to offer me your thoughts directly.

 

If you have feedback write to me, if you have feelings express them clearly to me, if you have thoughts on how a thing could have been done better or given more attention than now is the time to let me know these things.

 

If you have concerns or seek clarity direct your expression towards me and allow your energy to feed the foundations of this movement that is still in its infancy. Give energy to that wish you wish to grow.

 

And as you consider your thoughts and feelings and gather yourselves to articulate them, consider this.

 

Newkind brings vegans who are not necessarily straight-edge, and it brings environmentalists who are not vegan, it brings permaculture and sustainability enthusiasts who may well not be versed in feminist literature or engaged with women’s rights movements, it brings animal rights activists who are oblivious to the Indigenous Rights Movement and the struggle for recognition and treaty, it brings old school hippies and new age spiritualists and throws them in the lions pen with social entrepreneurs, straightedge punk rockers and academics, it brings gender equality activists who are still unaware of non-binary language, and it brings LGBTQI activists and anti-vaxers, it brings it brings festival crew who don’t know what straightedge means and it brings young impressionable minds seeking clarity and guidance…

 

Can you see what intersectionality looks like? Can we see now how many threads we are trying to hold on to here, to bring all these people together? Can we see how many points of view we are trying to align? Can we understand the friction we are causing in insisting that we represent and champion each and every one of these causes? At the same time! Can we see now how important and inevitably challenging and likely triggering this movement is going to be? We are all already doing our thing, and we are all giving everything we have for the thing we believe in, and Newkind is drawing all of these divergent movements closer together. To create solidarity and generate momentum through solidarity, for solidarity is the fuel of any social change movement.

And for this fuel, this biding glue of solidarity to be harnessed effectively, the foundations of the movement must be strong, the vision must be clearly articulated, and its principles bravely championed.

 

So keep this all in mind when you consider your time as a volunteer or participant at Newkind, let your experience inspire you to add constructive criticism and make valid and well-informed recommendations or requests. Let us nurture this, prune and protect this idea that we all hold so dearly. Let us protect the feeling that this idea brings up in our hearts. Let us alter the course of history by first tending to our own gardens.

 

With Love,

Erfan Daliri

 

25/5/2018

 

The wailing of the world…

 

Eventually, something will happen to you that will cause your heart to break in a way that rips your ribcage out from your chest and leaves you without breath. There is a type of heartache from which there is no return, no road left to go back to where you once were. There is no way home from there.

There are some experiences that break you open so wide that the thought of it happening to anyone else is what keeps you up at night. It causes you to sit up late, weep without rest and beg for forgiveness. It cleaves you clean apart such that you are left in a daze, staring at a limb that was once attached to your body, but now lays a few feet away. You try to come to terms with the fact that part of you is not attached to the rest of you anymore, but you cannot quite reach for any sense or meaning; for sometimes there exists none.

There is a type of grief that rips you open like a hand tearing open an orange searching for the seed. It leaves you dismembered and disorientated in a pile of your own mess, a helpless beggar weeping for mercy. There is a type of pain that peels your skin and leaves you exposed to the elements such that a gentle breeze is enough to cause you to scream in agony. You wonder if the pain will ever cease. You wonder if God even exists. You wonder if there is any reason to continue or if there is anyone on this earth who can help you; for everyone seems preoccupied with their own grieving.

And then, when you expect it the least, when you resign yourself to your fate, just as the light in your eyes is about to fade, you find the sense in the senseless. Amidst the absurdity, you manage to find a sense of purpose. You realise this breaking of your heart was a blessing, that the weeping was a cleansing, and the grief was a way of connecting. You come to terms with the helplessness that everyone feels when their heart is broken. In your mutual understanding of grief, you find solidarity. In solidarity, you find connection. In your connection, you find strength.

As you resign yourself to the absurdity and meaninglessness of the pain you had to endure, the loss you had to suffer, you begin to find solidarity with the oppressed, the imprisoned, the raped, the tortured, the senselessly slaughtered, the mined, the violated; the Earth. In your state of utter bewilderment at why you had to suffer such injustice and why you were left so helpless, you begin to understand what it is that the earth feels. You see how mindless your own actions have been and how you have caused others to weep.

This thing that breaks you apart is actually a blessing, it allows you to feel a connection. If you manage to maintain your composure and not rely on crutches to get by, if you get yourself back to your feet, you will see how everyone is hurting, and instead of being angry and bitter you can decide to become more kind and gentle. You see, this breaking of your heart, this cause for weeping is a clearing out of all the dust and mud that had accumulated around your heart. This breaking of your heart, is actually what allows your heart to breathe again.

You begin to connect closely and intimately with your environment, you begin to see the senseless violence that is the cutting down of ancient trees, you see the violence in the way we have been eating, you see the violence in our language, and you see the violence in ignoring people as you pass them in the streets. You see the tenderness of all hearts and how traumatised everyone else actually is. You begin to sense emotion in a much more subtle way, and you can finally begin taking the first steps towards true peace. You become sensitive to the needs of thirsty birds, and trapped bees, you see yourself in the water and you see the water in you, you see how you are already connected to everything that is, through your very breath.

Your ability to receive a traumatic experience and not close yourself off to the world out of your love for others, actually opens up an entirely new world to you. You awaken to a world where you can see yourself as a single element in a much greater, limitless body, and as such, any trauma or blow suffered by any aspect of that body is felt by you deeply. Your connection to earth deepens, your roots begin to grow out from your feet and you realise that you are already home. And that you were always there.

You see begin to realise how everything you do, is actually already forever, there is no end, there is no death, there is no other place, for you are already there. You realise how spirituality is existence and existence is spirituality, you see that every action has an intention and every intention has a motivation and every motivation should be rigorously inspected before enacted. You see how energetic desire of another being, even in your own mind is still an act of violation, for there is no separation between thought and reality, and you realise your reality is your thoughts, and your emotions are your driving motivation. And then you realise why your emotions needed to be purified, and that is when you finally understand why you had to be put to grief.

The grief is a chisel placed against your chest, and your wish to grow and develop into a better version of yourself is the hammer that plunges the chisel into your chest. It breaks you up that you may see pieces of what you thought were you, break away and fall to the ground, until eventually realise that none of it was you to begin with. When you do not whince, when you do not flinch, when you stand there with arms out wide to receive each blow, you allow yourself to witness the process of your own crafting.

And if you remain composed, and calm, loving and kind during this painful process of refinement, you get to witness the most glorious experience of all. You get to witness your own birth.

 

 

Preparing the garden of the soul

Life is just the process of you becoming who you want to die as. That’s basically it.

We can complicate it, confuse it, and make it really difficult, violent and adversarial if we like. We can make it about drama, and ego, and he said, she said bullshit. We can make it about how other people are destroying the planet or that racists are ruining the world, or that meat-eaters are cruel and unkind, or any number of other tangents.

But the simple fact is, this life is about preparing the garden of your soul.

You have a certain number of years afforded you, in this lifetime, on this earth, for you to watch, witness, learn and then decide for yourself who would you like to leave this place as.

Just as the child in the womb is only really just preparing its limbs, its senses and faculties, that it may explore and navigate this world, so too are we preparing the vehicle with which we will navigate and explore the next.

There difference between the child in the womb and your existence here, however, is that you have a conscious part to play, unlike the child that is subject to the thoughtfulness of the mother carrying it.

In this life, you get to decide how you wish to respond to stimuli, how you wish to direct your energy, how much time you spend weeding your garden and how much time you spend looking over your fence at telling your neighbour to use less water in washing their driveaway.

You can sit at the window judging others on how they park their cars or whether they pick up their dog’s shit, or you can go out into the garden and plant seeds that will give flowers and prune your trees that they may give fruit in spring.

This life is the slow and gradual process of you deciding who you want to leave this place as. That’s it. Everything in this world is an opportunity for you to refine your idea of self or it is a distraction from the refinement of self.

Nothing else matters much. We don’t keep anything else from this place but for who we have become. We do not keep the books that we wrote or the medals that we were awarded, we do not keep with us our homes or bank balances, or even how much of an impact we had on the world, other than the times you brought joy to the heart of another.

The only thing we get to keep from this existence is who we became in the process of existing. The content of your character, the cleanliness of your heart, the clarity and purity of your thoughts, and the calm and composure with which you were able to love all.

That’s all that this life is actually about.

Erfan Daliri

 

This is about compassion

This wasn’t about the starving orphaned children of some third world country, global conflict, the environment or your particular religious beliefs. This had nothing to do with distractions and real issues. This vote was about kindness, compassion, understanding and acceptance, and as far as I am concerned that is the only real issue; rather, the core of all other issues.

 

There is no greater concern on the face of this earth then the peace and serenity of the hearts of human beings. For the heart of the human is the very centre of the universe, and the love, and peacefulness and acceptance that it feels determines the creation that it offers the world. This vote was as much a vote to legalise people’s love for one another in a relationship, as it was about our collective love for each other, for humanity.

 

What we were voting on was whether we are a nation of open-hearted, accepting and understanding human beings, or whether we are a bunch of fearful and prejudiced bigots who have only smokescreen arguments to offer… Thankfully the open hearts won.

 

This vote had nothing to do with any particular religion, because last time I checked we live in a secular society, and religious laws should have no say in anything other than how you choose to conduct your personal life. So shut up and put your holy book down, nobody is asking anyone to change their religious laws, we are speaking of the laws of Australia, not any particular system of faith.

 

And it wasn’t just the right to marry that was important here, but also, and more importantly the vote for acceptance. Let’s face it, marriage isn’t that big of a deal. About 25% of them are great, 25% are just ok, and 50% of them are dead-set shite and end up in divorce anyway. I don’t think the right to marry was the greater concern here, rather the issue of acceptance, acknowledgement and understanding. To know that your nation stands with you even if a few bigots don’t get you.

 

The real concern is that the queer identifying teenager who is terrified of school, can walk around with a little less fear in their heart and feel a touch more acceptance and love, from millions of people they have never met before. And even though the schoolyard bullies will not disappear overnight, at least that queer kid will know in their heart that the overwhelming majority of the country is with them, loves them, and accepts them exactly as they are. So our LGBTQI community can always remember that even though their families might not get it, the rest of us are there to support them.

 

Sure there are some legal concerns, and being in a legally recognised partnership is important in many life situations, and it makes heartwrenching hospital visits less painful… But what is even more important than the right to enter a legally recognised relationship, which is a basic right we should never have had to vote on anyway, is the fact that we are removing prejudice from our society, and though it still exists, and though legalising interracial marriage did not end racism, it sure as shit was a big step towards it right?

 

Voting Yes was just each one of us telling the nation that we are a kind and compassionate person. And any heteros who voted No, on an issue that has zero effect on their lives, should go up to the mirror, look at the person staring back and ask themselves ‘Why?’

 

Why would you ever do such a thing? Is your ideology somehow more important than the calm and peace that will come to the hearts of those who had been relegated to the fringes of your crumbling society? Is your opinion more valuable than the suicidality of a member of the LGBTQI community who is struggling to express their true identity to their family or community? Is it really that important to you that marriage remains between a man and a woman? Really… That’s a big deal to you?

 

Yes, it was a farce in many regards, and it should have been digital, or just decided by progressive leadership, and you might think that ending mining or global conflict is somehow more important, sure… but what did you do in the last 6 months to end global conflict, famine, mining or the signing of the TPP?
The fact is the removal of anxious tensions, the clearing of fears, the easing and calming of hearts, the opening of our own hearts, the acceptance of all forms of difference and diversity, is actually the most important issue that we have ever had to deal with. like ever! Since we lived in caves. All of the horrors that we have perpetrated against each other and against the earth have all stemmed from the carrying and enacting of fears, from prejudice expressed, and from discomfort within our hearts.

When we begin to put our fears aside and remove our prejudices, when our hearts are at peace and full to the brim with love, then and only then will our excessive and cruel diets, our arguments over meaningless shit, and our consumerism finally slow down, and our insatiable appetite for newer, bigger, shinner shit will finally be satiated with the deep reverberation that comes with expressing unconditioned love…

 

And voting Yes was a step closer towards that. And for that, I congratulate you Australia… Now can we please see to the needs of the 600 men left stranded on Manus? Get activists mobilised to end the needless slaughter of animals, and ffs can we end the Australian apartheid and bring Indigenous Australian leadership into our systems of governance?

 

Erfan Daliri

 

 

 

 

Nothing else matters

“…Let us commit, let us lean into life, and not relent…”

 

I’ve had enough time on this earth to know that there is nothing left here that can attract or distract me away from my true purpose. From our true purpose. There is nothing left here for me but to be a part of the evolution of human civilisation; the awakening of the soul and the very practical task of doing everything we can to create a peaceful, sustainable and equitable society. That’s it. That’s all there is left to do, and everything else is a distraction.

It’s not easy, I know. My friends and comrades know this well. It is not easy to be at all times considering and discussing themes of social change, justice, equity, equality, economics, animal rights, privilege, entitlement, rape culture, environmental degradation and domestic violence and suicide; without break, without rest, without drugs or alcohol to take off the edge, it’s not easy to not flinch, and instead to stare into the abyss, without backing away, and witness what is happening around us whilst remaining calm, clear-headed and focused.

But, it is also not easy to be aware of what is happening in the world in every single moment whilst not being a part of the solution. That refusal to engage is also difficult to live with. Shopping centres and dinner parties, careers, cars, homes, mortgages, drugs, alcohol, relationships created to fill a void that we should be filling ourselves, discussing politics and policy over wine and cheese platters while half of the world struggles to feed their family… That too is its own hell.

 

“…it is also not easy to be aware of what is happening in the world in and to not being a part of the solution…”

 

So in a way, everyone is free to decide which type of discomfort best suits them. The discomfort of uncertainty, of flux, and the personal exertion to change and evolve, or the discomfort of conforming to the familiar and known confines of an unjust prison.

And the fact is, most of us are actually fluctuating between the two worlds. One of abandon, full trust and commitment to social change, and the other of conformity and holding on to old behaviours, systems and ways of being. But the time has come for us to be brave and commit to the task at hand with full conviction and unwavering certainty. We are all already doing it, we just need do it a little more convincingly.

Our time will soon pass, and the chance to change the course of history will be gone. Create the future you want now my friends, instead of wishing that the present was not so painful to witness. What we are witnessing now, is the accumulative result of each generation before us, and the deviation or dent that we put into the trajectory that we were born into will be witnessed and noted, generations from now. Our efforts now will reverberate throughout all of time. Or not… depending on what we do with our time.

So make your dent, let us make our impression on this story, as overwhelming as the momentum and the inertia might be, Do Not give in to it. Make your counteraction against that which you do not believe in, do not resign to go unnoticed in the arch of human civilisation.

We all know within our core, which side of history we want to be on. And we know it will not be easy. Of course, it’s not easy. It is uncomfortable, it is painful, it is heartbreaking, mind-bending, and soul-shaping. It is not easy my friends. We experience panic, we experience anxiety, we experience loss and hopelessness at times, we hold each other up when one of us is finding it difficult to stand upright. It is testing and it is unrelenting. But nothing can compare to that feeling deep within our core that just smiles at us and says ‘Yes… this is the way home”

 

“…as overwhelming as the momentum and the inertia might be, Do Not give in to it. Make your counteraction count…”

 

I know it is not easy, and I know it takes fortitude and courage, and I know we need to heal our own broken hearts, to break off the arrows in our backs to roar into the face of the onslaught, I know we need emotional core strength and I know we need leaders to lead the way, I know we need community and compassion, I know we need to trust, to have love, to hold each other accountable but also sometimes we just need to hold each other up.

I’ve been running resilience training seminars and speaking on emotional core strength for some time now, and I am now letting the world know that though people are free to donate if they wish, I actually don’t care to charge anymore. I’ve decided that things such as income,  rent, and savings will no longer slow me down, or be a concern of mine.

The task at hand is clear, we need revolutionary people in order to have the revolution we want. We need brave and courageous souls to be unfazed, unflinching and resolved. We need to show kindness in the face of harsh words, and we must respond to hatred with uncompromising compassion. We need to be able to look at what is happening in the world and to not be triggered. That is the only way we will find solutions. And if I can help people do that, then that is what I will do.

We need resilience and core strength, to be able to witness the horrors around us and still maintain our calm, think clearly, and act with clarity, love and courage. When we are unafraid we are kind, when we are not in pain we are compassionate and considerate, if we can maintain our calm and composure then we will always make the decision that is just, fair, and noble.

It is for this reason that this work is important to me. Because I know at our core, we are good, we are kind and we are noble. I know our inherent nature is infinitely patient, forgiving, loving and supremely intelligent.

And that is why I am letting the world know that my resilience training sessions are now free and uncharged, I don’t want finances to be a concern for anybody. The next one is in Melbourne on Sunday 26th November, and the one after that is in Sydney on Sunday 10th of December.

The fact of the matter is the ones doing the most important work don’t often have $50 spare to book a ticket to a seminar. I know, because I’ve had days when I couldn’t afford to buy a coffee. So I will make sure every Unfazed seminar I do is always available for free to whoever wants to attend.

 

_erfan daliri

“The Earth does not need us to save her, it is our souls and the content of our hearts that need to be addressed.”

– Erfan Daliri –

 

 

 

 

Enough…

“…We must commit, lean into life, and not relent…”

 

I’ve had enough time on this earth to know that there is nothing left here that can attract or distract me away from my true purpose. From our true purpose. There is nothing left here for me but to be a part of the evolution of human civilisation; the awakening of the soul and the very practical task of doing everything we can to create a peaceful, sustainable and equitable society. That’s it. That’s all there is left to do, and everything else is a distraction.

It’s not easy, I know. My friends and comrades know this well. It is not easy to be at all times considering and discussing themes of social change, justice, equity, equality, economics, animal rights, privilege, entitlement, rape culture, environmental degradation and domestic violence and suicide; without break, without rest, without drugs or alcohol to take off the edge, it’s not easy to not flinch, and instead to stare into the abyss, without backing away, and witness what is happening around us whilst remaining calm, clear-headed and focused.

But, it is also not easy to be aware of what is happening in the world in every single moment whilst not being a part of the solution. That refusal to engage is also difficult to live with. Shopping centres and dinner parties, careers, cars, homes, mortgages, drugs, alcohol, relationships created to fill a void that we should be filling ourselves, discussing politics and policy over wine and cheese platters while half of the world struggles to feed their family… That too is its own hell.

 

“…it is also not easy to be aware of what is happening in the world in and to not being a part of the solution…”

 

So in a way, everyone is free to decide which type of discomfort best suits them. The discomfort of uncertainty, of flux, and the personal exertion to change and evolve, or the discomfort of conforming to the familiar and known confines of an unjust prison.

And the fact is, most of us are actually fluctuating between the two worlds. One of abandon, full trust and commitment to social change, and the other of conformity and holding on to old behaviours, systems and ways of being. But the time has come for us to be brave and commit to the task at hand with full conviction and unwavering certainty. We are all already doing it, we just need do it a little more convincingly.

Our time will soon pass, and the chance to change the course of history will be gone. Create the future you want now my friends, instead of wishing that the present was not so painful to witness. What we are witnessing now, is the accumulative result of each generation before us, and the deviation or dent that we put into the trajectory that we were born into will be witnessed and noted, generations from now. Our efforts now will reverberate throughout all of time. Or not… depending on what we do with our time.

So make your dent, let us make our impression on this story, as overwhelming as the momentum and the inertia might be, Do Not give in to it. Make your counteraction against that which you do not believe in, do not resign to go unnoticed in the arch of human civilisation.

We all know within our core, which side of history we want to be on. And we know it will not be easy. Of course, it’s not easy. It is uncomfortable, it is painful, it is heartbreaking, mind-bending, and soul-shaping. It is not easy my friends. We experience panic, we experience anxiety, we experience loss and hopelessness at times, we hold each other up when one of us is finding it difficult to stand upright. It is testing and it is unrelenting. But nothing can compare to that feeling deep within our core that just smiles at us and says ‘Yes… this is the way home”

 

“…as overwhelming as the momentum and the inertia might be, Do Not give in to it. Make your counteraction count…”

 

I know it is not easy, and I know it takes fortitude and courage, and I know we need to heal our own broken hearts, to break off the arrows in our backs to roar into the face of the onslaught, I know we need emotional core strength and I know we need leaders to lead the way, I know we need community and compassion, I know we need to trust, to have love, to hold each other accountable but also sometimes we just need to hold each other up.

I’ve been running resilience training seminars and speaking on emotional core strength for some time now, and I am now letting the world know that though people are free to donate if they wish, I actually don’t care to charge anymore. I’ve decided that things such as income,  rent, and savings will no longer slow me down, or be a concern of mine.

The task at hand is clear, we need revolutionary people in order to have the revolution we want. We need brave and courageous souls to be unfazed, unflinching and resolved. We need to show kindness in the face of harsh words, and we must respond to hatred with uncompromising compassion. We need to be able to look at what is happening in the world and to not be triggered. That is the only way we will find solutions. And if I can help people do that, then that is what I will do.

We need resilience and core strength, to be able to witness the horrors around us and still maintain our calm, think clearly, and act with clarity, love and courage. When we are unafraid we are kind, when we are not in pain we are compassionate and considerate, if we can maintain our calm and composure then we will always make the decision that is just, fair, and noble.

It is for this reason that this work is important to me. Because I know at our core, we are good, we are kind and we are noble. I know our inherent nature is infinitely patient, forgiving, loving and supremely intelligent.

And that is why I am letting the world know that my resilience training sessions are now free and uncharged, I don’t want finances to be a concern for anybody. The next ones are Brisbane Monday 21st May, Sydney Wednesday 23rd May, and Melbourne Sunday 27th May, and the one after that is in Sydney on Sunday 10th of December.

The fact of the matter is the ones doing the most important work don’t often have $50 spare to book a ticket to a seminar. I know, because I’ve had days when I couldn’t afford to buy a coffee. So I will make sure every Unfazed seminar I do is always available for free to whoever wants to attend.

 

_erfan daliri

 

 

 

We are not angry, we are grieving…

Can we acknowledge that we are in grief? Are we ready to do that yet? Are we brave enough to say yes, we are hurting regardless of what others may think that might mean?

 

Are we ready to say out loud that we are still hurt from childhood memories? The way your father raised his voice or his hands, why your mother had to leave when you were ten, why your brother had to die in a foreign land, or why your cousin raped you on those family weekends.

 

Are we ready to fall to your knees and weep yet? Are we ready to accept the fact that all the hurt that was ever caused, came from the hurt that was caused in a time when you and I had not been born to this earth?

 

Can we see how humanity has passed trauma on from generation to generation, how it has become embedded in our DNA and our cultures, how innocent the victim that then becomes the perpetrator, how insidiously this trauma continues to exist and maintain its reign by means of the ego?

 

How this idea that we have a right to feel hurt has created only further hurt because we never stopped to ask how anyone else was actually doing. And when we did, we never really meant it.

 

Adults never really grew up, if you look at them, you will realise that we just got better at pretending. Working harder and faster and never relenting, planting trees, building orphanages or going out on the weekend and getting bent, we all have reason to hurt, we just pretend we’re ok differently.

 

We thought it was brave to pretend to be stoic when in fact we are actually very much in pain, suffering silently, and as a result becoming bitter and angry?

 

Are we ready to acknowledge the obvious fact that all the pain and suffering that we have inflicted upon each other throughout all of human history, was more than likely initiated by the unjust experiences we were subjected to in our early childhood and teens?

 

Can we see how those fragile hearts, like saplings, grew big and tall but slightly leaning towards behaviours that recreate situations of trauma, so we don’t lose our sense of identity…

 

You might not remember what it felt like to be spoken to sternly by a parent or screamed at, forgive us Father for we have sinned, but if you watch closely the children around you, you will be reminded of how heartbreaking and completely terrifying that might have been.

 

To have had your heart broken for a toy you really wanted but never received, or just the anger that builds up over years of never truly being seen. The hurt that grows each year for never being heard or for having parents who were completely absorbed by their community development work, however altruistic it might have seemed?

 

If you want to know why young boys fight in primary school or on inner city nightclub strips, why they torture animals, or hang themselves with they can’t pay the bills, it’s because they are still hurting, deeply, from things that happened when they were 3.

 

And nobody was there to teach them emotional stability, healthy relationship skills, communication tools or coping mechanisms. So they became disconnected drunks, violent partners, rapists, misogynist politicians, angry environmentalists, suicidal comedians or social change seeking revolutionaries.

 

Truth is, we have all experienced trauma and we all have things we need to be grieving. Childhood memories and experiences, the state of the environment, Palestine, Syria, Indigenous deaths in custody, and black men, women and children being gunned down for no apparent reason.

 

If you want to know why men become obsessed with muscle mass and footy stats, with loud cars and drink too much, it’s because their fathers were raised by fathers who were emotionally repressed and didn’t know how to give a hug, much less how to sit down and have a conversation with their sons and show that they actually care.

 

So that 3-year old soon turned eighteen and before he knew it he was let out onto the streets, told to pick a job, buy a home, settle down, and be a man when he was never even shown what that really means. Experiencing more trauma through his teens, while hiding his grief and trying to study a degree, to be something he never wanted to be.

 

We have an entire civilization of terrified little boys who never learnt what it meant to be still, silent and present with their children, who are running around pretending to be grown men, some of them even trying to save the world. They are in positions of power, they are growing older, they are still giving orders, and still not sure what it means to be a man.

 

They are hurting and grief-stricken and that inner child is weeping inside but boys don’t cry, so they bottle it up and sit quiet, go to jobs they don’t really like, and when it comes knock off time they do shots, visit strip clubs, and then go home and beat their partners to death.

 

We are all grief-stricken… are we ready to admit it yet?

 

It’s nobody’s fault, and somehow we are all responsible. I wasn’t there to save you when you were a child, or even last month when that man tried to rape you. And for that I am regretful. I am sorry for what you have all gone through.

 

I wish I could have stopped it, or that I could go back in time and sat with you on the edge of your bed that night when you were sad and told you, you were already perfect. Before you became a teenager, got into drugs and partying, before you thought heels would make you complete or that dress sizes and lipstick were things of importance.

 

I’m sorry I didn’t have this much clarity 20 years ago, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be there for you when you needed me, but I was only in my early teens then, and I too had good reason to be hurting.

 

Instead of a teacher, a role model or someone to tell me it was ok to weep, I had a cousin who introduced me to porn and I became even more alone and life became even more confusing. It wasn’t anybody’s fault, but somehow we are all responsible.

 

I wish we weren’t all so wounded but we are, and it’s ok my loves we need to grieve, we need to weep, we will hold each other up maybe even lean, until we remember what joy feels like, what it felt like the first time you rode a bike, or flew a kite, back before grief took away our freedom.

 

We need to admit to the fact that we’re not really angry with the world or anybody else, we’re just upset at all the things we couldn’t stop from happening, for all the times we cried out for help and nobody heard us. That time my grandmother killed my dad’s birds when he was 13.

 

He still talks about it.

 

I’m sorry it’s taken this long for us to realise that we are all cells of one being, souls of one body, that there is no other, there is no enemy. We are a single form that is suffering from disease and together we might just be able to heal it. But first, we must acknowledge the fact that we have suffered trauma and we need to support each other as we go through this process of grieving.

 

But please I beg of you, know that this is crucial, it is extremely important, that while we undergo this process of shedding and growth, the transformation that comes with acknowledging trauma and weeping, please let us not cause each other any further harm, do not call each other names, or point fingers, do not break hearts or fire weapons, put out your Molotov cocktails, look me in the eyes, tell me you need to cry, and let us be done with it.

 

Let this be the last generation that ever has reason for grieving.

 

And one final request, the one piece of the puzzle that is most necessary for our peace and stability, for our collective evolution…

 

If you have children, I beg you, put aside your trivial pursuits, lay your goals and desires to rest, and forget you even have any purpose but to serve them, for I tell you that is the truth. Give them your attention, your presence, your fullest affections, and let them never doubt, not even for a moment, that anything is more important than their finger paintings, their dreams, or their seemingly silly questions.

 

All we ever needed was parents who were present, listened to our stories with bated breath, cared nothing for the world and all it’s troubles and problems, and cared only to read us stories in bed and make us hot chocolate.

 

That is how we will change the world… peacefully, without conflict, without revolution and bloodshed, genuinely and sustainably. By paying attention to our children and nothing else, knowing it will take time, but so do apple trees, you think you will change the world in a day? We’ve been at it for thousands of years, I tell you it will all be over in one generation.

 

If only we could learn to be present, to be gentle, loving, kind and patient. To give our full attention to whoever it is that is before us, grown man, ageing woman, angsty teen or a newborn child that still speaks the language of angels.

 

 

Erfan Daliri

 

Why I’m releasing my works for free

It has been a long journey and there is still much to go, but the next step for me is to begin untangling my creative expression from an economic structure that I fundamentally disagree with. After much deliberation, contemplation and reflection, I have decided that I will be releasing my existing works as well as my future books and albums as free downloads.
Those would like to support my work can still do so via Bandcamp, Patreon, or they can attend a performance, a talk or a workshop that I facilitate. In any case, all my future works will be readily available free of charge, and soon I will have to consider whether I will print any further physical books.
I am doing this because I want to acknowledge and bring attention to the fact that we exist in a flawed economic construct that is serving an increasingly smaller proportion of society. Because of this understanding, I have decided that I will incrementally disentangle myself from what I do not agree with. I do not wish to add any further momentum to the perpetuation of systems that are based on injustice.
I don’t mean to imply that I necessarily have all the answers, and I’m not criticising anybody else. The fact is, being a performing artist, a writer and a festival director, a large proportion of my colleagues and associates are free-thinking creative artists who are barely scraping together an existence and doing their utmost to disentangle from this system and make a living from their work.
The truth is I am just bringing attention to the fact that we need to give this some attention.
The world we wish to live in is drastically and fundamentally different to the one we currently exist within, therefore it goes without saying, there will be changes that will by uncomfortable and challenges that seem insurmountable, but we will get there. The pieces of the puzzle we each put forward seem illogical and incomprehensible when put into the current context, and it is for this reason that we should remind ourselves that these changes, challenges and solutions only make sense when we place them in the context of a future society. But we have to start somewhere.
And if we intend on ever getting there, we must be prepared to make massive changes in short periods of time. If we cannot accept that something is broken then we will not be able to comprehend any solution whatsoever. Once we acknowledge something is broken, then we must take a closer look at it to understand why.
The way we are conducting ourselves, our behaviours, social norms and the laws that we exist within have all contributed to bringing us to the situation we find ourselves in, and we need to look very closely at ourselves. If we are not willing to question the very fundamentals of what we have built our society on, then we are truly doomed. It is the every day, it is the embedded practices and socials norms or so-called ‘rights’ that have pulled the wool over our eyes. Those things that are so ingrained that they have become invisible to us; they are the practices we must reassess.
Like drinking chocolate milk out of plastic bottles, reading the daily papers, buying our coffee in takeaway cups, grilling sausages on the BBQ and borrowing money from banks and using ATMs. It is the every day and the invisible that we must scrutinise, and our financial construct is one of the things that we must reassess.
Again, I will reiterate that I do not assume I have all the answers, but I will say loud and clear, that we need to slow down, to stop in fact, and look at the damage we have caused ourselves and each other with our frenzied, frenetic and destructive behaviours. No one is to blame and no one escapes culpability. It just is what it is, and I think it needs to be looked at.
Here’s my rationale
Non-participation is one of the key tools in the arsenal of a successful activist and must be enacted if we wish to live and work from a place of integrity. If we continue to support the systems that we fundamentally disagree with, while consistently maintaining that we disagree with them, we become either hypocrites aware of our contradictions or we come across as ill-informed and ineffective human beings without answers or clear pathways of thought. It is the increasing of awareness and complex reason combined with addressing the cognitive dissonance that comes with the newly acquired awareness that will lead us to a more just future.
Whether it is the meat and dairy industries, the cutting down of ancient forests, or the rape and pillage of the earth through mining, we need to understand how it is all connected to us before we protest it, if we wish to become effective agents of change and to live a meaningful life of integrity and honour. If we ignore these things and fail to investigate the interconnectedness of the social issues that we face then, anxiety, depression, cognitive dissonance, confusion and substance abuse will accompany us throughout our lives.  If we fail to change and grow, to evolve and redefine ourselves throughout our lives then we may never truly understand what it meant to be gifted with the human experience.
In agreeing to always release my works free of charge I am expressing that I am not only an advocate and supporter of the open source movement and the opposition to copyright movement, but also that I am willing to stand by the implications of that.  It is an ethical contradiction for me to agree that medical breakthroughs, software and technology that can be used for the betterment of the world, should be open sourced and not owned by a corporation or copyrighted by an individual, and yet still require money for the purchase of my own digital content.
In order to understand this action I am taking, and to grasp why an artist charging for an electronic copy of an album or getting paid royalties for airplay has anything to do with affordable medicine and education, let us take a quick look into at the concept of copyright, patents, and a quick glance at our economic system.
Before we start we must understand that in our current global society, no transaction is beyond the financial ecology that we exist within. The use of ATMs, extending credit card limits, bidding at a home auction in Sydney and the global financial collapses we’ve experienced are all part of one whole. What you are willing to pay for quinoa, and how a cash paid employee in a Melbourne café decides to spend their money is connected to the price of tuna in China. It’s more closely related to the price of quinoa in South America, but they’re all related nevertheless.
Now let us begin with what copyright means, so we can move on to unravelling the implications of it. Copyright is a legal right that gives the creator of a work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. It was introduced into our world by the English parliament in 1662 in response to the invention of the printing press, as a way of protecting the work of writers from exploitation by the owners of the printing presses. You can understand how it could seem like a good idea at the time. The problem stems from the fact that those rights can be bought and sold.
The concept of a patent has existed in some form or another from as early as the 14th century. Its effects were localised and minimal, without global ramifications given the rate and pace of interactions and transactions. Again, there can be seen a glimpse of merit in it.
At a brief glance, if one was not able to grasp the implications of such a thing, the simple statement of ‘incentivising innovation’ would fool the novice. And it did for a few hundred years. The idea that this spurs innovation by giving the glory of financial gains to the innovator or inventor is a false one that has been dangled in front of us much like a carrot on a stick. While the whole time it has always been aiding the further accumulation of wealth by those who already had it.
The fact is, the overwhelming majority of financial gains will always inevitably go to those who have the money to buy and own the patent or copyright or have the ability to reproduce the product or idea. Whether it is a book, an album, a new medicine or technological breakthrough. It is a very deceiving way to ensure that money continues to make money; the extenuation of the extremes of wealth and poverty.
And all the while, the general population is none the wiser, believing that by buying into this idea they too will find financial salvation if they keep their heads down, their noses clean and work hard. Given the distractions of reality TV, sporting events, fear mongering media and the entertainment industry, we are all generally unaware of the damaging effects of the ideas that we have agreed to and the laws that we are obediently abiding by.
In the same way that the minutest misalignment on a woodworking lathe will have catastrophic effects on the wood being turned, or how a couple of degrees out at the foundation of a high-rise develops a disastrous lean as the construction continues, this simple piece of legislation has caused an immense amount of damage.  When extrapolated over a few hundred years and allowed to infiltrate every aspect of a multi-billion person society, interacting at the rapid pace at which we now conduct business, this idea has become a cancer that is destroying the body of this single entity called humanity.
This idea has become ingrained in all aspects of our lives, and even a large part of our psyche and the effects have been truly devastating. It has become our global culture. This concept of copyright and patent relates to ideas of ownership of capital, ownership of people, private ownership of land, it is connected to the apparently self-regulating free-market philosophy which is a lie; it isn’t self-regulating, it is self-perpetuating. The idea of an individual buying ocean front land for private use, subdividing and later on selling for a profit, the rape culture relationship that we have with our environment and this perverse condition in the mind that suggests we can pull from the earth whatever we want simply because we have enough money to buy the machinery to do so without even having to distribute that so-called wealth between every single inhabitant of the Earth; these are all effects of the ideology of private ownership taking the podium rather than the concept of collective commons.
You see, this is not a simple mess we have gotten ourselves into. It is immense, it is convoluted, it is complex and it is becoming increasingly painful at a much faster rate. We need to slow down. We need to take stock of our behaviours and consider the ramifications of our individual actions as they merge and add to the collective action of the masses. For what is this heart-wrenching mess we have ourselves in, but the result of our individual actions combining to create our collective experience?
We find ourselves in a world where not even the first person to have had the idea, but the first person to go through the process of registering that new idea or technology suddenly owns it. We exist in a world where the person who could afford to buy the rights to a song or an album can own that piece of music, even though they have no connection to its creation. Furthermore, they can again sell or pass the ownership of that piece of music down to their children, who can continue making millions of dollars of profits from a piece of music written by a musician who lived a hundred years before them.
The existence of and continued adherence to these laws means medical breakthroughs, medicines, ointments, evens cures for serious diseases can be owned by a corporation or an individual, and lifesaving medicines will be commodified and sold at a profit to benefit the shareholders or patent owner. Regardless of how many cannot afford it.
Software, for example, is easily reproduced, and the fact that we pay hundreds perhaps thousands of dollars for licensing each year adds to the already absurd wealth of certain companies and individuals. Add to that the fact that billions of others cannot afford that same product. Whether it is software, medicine or music we should be considering the benefit of the collective, not the individual. To generate income by exploiting a need, and then to offer a few hundred million dollars to charity is a joke and it is actually taking the piss.
It points to the fact that the majority of society cannot see the moral bankruptcy of such practices. To continue bleeding millions and millions of people of their money for something they need that you have, and then offer back a proportion of it and be praised as a charitable person, is a cruel and twisted joke.
Let us then consider the innovation that is stifled by not open sourcing it. When we implement the Open Source Model to solve a problem or create a new piece of software, innovation is accelerated at a mind-boggling rate. Hundreds or even thousands of individuals can contribute to generating solutions, to adding code, to proposing new perspectives.
Consider the thought that the slightest adjustment to a lab experiment that changes the course of history might not be in the mind of the scientists at Stanford but in the mind of a 14-year-old sitting behind a computer screen in India, and all she needed was to be aware of the problem you were trying to solve and to know what you had and had not tried so far.
We can begin to see how the very thing that we once thought would spur innovation, invention and creativity has stifled it. We can begin to see that by creating environments that nurture and foster competitiveness we have in fact been doing humanity a great disservice. We can begin to see more clearly how damaging it has been to have had academia, economics, philosophy and of course all of society literally ‘man-handled’ by the patriarchy.
Our ideas, our laws, the constructs that we have agreed to abide by, are imbalanced and incomplete. Our competitiveness and self-preservation is damaging all of us. We can begin to see how the Darwinian understandings that have become engrained into our way of life are still sabotaging human evolution and slowing down the process of moving towards social justice, equity and sustainability. How ironic that Darwin slowed down evolution.
This is one of the consistently repeated patterns of human beings and human societies. The implementation of a law, practice, behaviour or action that does exactly the opposite of what it was originally intended to do.
Ideas, Art, Music, Software, Medicine, Knowledge… How can we make these things commodities, place a dollar value on them, sell them only to those who can afford to pay for them, whether it be academic papers, poetry, Microsoft Office, or Daraprim, and then pretend like that isn’t insane?
In the system that we exist within, the patent to a drug that has existed for over sixty years can be bought by the highest bidder, and the price per pill can be hiked overnight from $13.5 to $750, all within the parameters of the law. Not only is it allowable, but in fact, it is how our entire society has been trained to think and behave. We celebrate it.
What is moral and what is allowed by the law do not need to be in agreeance in this system. Further to that, what is morally upright behaviour and what is acceptable behaviour do not even have to agree. We have, as a society, taken selfish and self-serving ideas as acceptable and praiseworthy. We are truly deluded.
If you consider it deeply you realise that this type of activity, this type of behaviour is encouraged and embedded into us at a young age, it is deemed upright and just, until the gross injustice of it is made glaringly obvious to us like it was in the case of Daraprim. In such instances, we snort and grunt in disapproval for a moment or two, and then continue conducting ourselves in exactly the same manner as the ones we bemoan.
We live in a reality where a writer, artist, painter or photographer will consider the value of their art, sometimes even their lives, by the financial gains it has brought them. The packaging, sale, and promotion of their work is now a consideration, sometimes the first consideration. We live in a reality where artists are creating their work to pay for rent, mortgages, rates, bills, cars, and living expenses. So now, how much, how quickly, and at what price something will sell is a consideration.
This is called the prostitution of the arts.
The commodification of the arts is what copyright brought us. I do not need to be paid for the electronic copying and distribution of my work as it doesn’t cost me anything to reproduce those works once they are created. And I’d rather not sign a publishing deal that gives the author 15% of the profit and distributes the rest amongst publishing company shareholders, distribution companies, transport and logistics companies and worst of all, the landlords of the premises of major bookstores.
Further to that, what artists are forced to endure, and what they have had to sacrifice in order to be able to create their work is not something that can be remunerated or compensated for with money. Artists receive their recompense from elsewhere.
This world is suffering from tumours and atrophy at the same time. We’re experiencing blood clots and haemorrhages of resources at the same time. We have obesity and malnutrition epidemics at the same time. We have more service men and women committing suicide than we lose in conflict. The greatest risk to the lives of men outside of suicide is their own diets. And the greatest risk to the lives of women is men. We need to stop what we are doing and take a look at ourselves, at each other, and start again.
The fact that a writer, a painter or a poet, a dancer or photographer must gauge the value or worth of their work or judge the success of their career by the amount of income they produced, instead of the number of hearts that they healed… this is what tells me that our society is broken.
The fact that artists, writers, painters, poets, must sell their art to pay the rent and buy food is truly heart-breaking. It means that they are considering what sells, and how to best market their work rather than creating for the sake of creation, for the sake of the collective. A move towards the days of patronage instead of commodification and capitalism would be wise, but this move will not happen if we all insist on clinging to what little we each have.
Somewhere along the line we were convinced that we had to compete with one another in order to serve ourselves, but this idea is destroying us.
When we take a look at what we are doing we realise that we have turned the highest forms of human endeavour, creative expression and innovation, into tools to serve the lowest of our needs, the procurement of our food and shelter. Is that not saddening?  We are a snake eating itself thinking we will find contentment.
Consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how self-actualisation and particularly creative endeavours have been turned into a means of securing the basest of our needs. This is a sure a sign as any that the economic construct that we exist within is not adequately serving us, and requires reconsideration.
The copyrighting of technology, software, medicine, and art is not acting for the benefit of society as a whole, and it is simply allowing for the perpetuation and extenuation of the extremes of wealth and poverty. It gives this thing called money the power to determine who has access to medicine, agricultural technology, music, or educational software.
The existence of copyright and patent law is a concept that at first seemed like a good idea. It made sense to the minds that conceived of them hundreds of years ago, but those existed in a different world. Those minds did not possess the same mental capacities for complex reasoning or comprehension that even an average human being today possesses.
Those minds could not foretell the implications of such laws in a society like the one we exist within today. They couldn’t even imagine the world that we live in, much less legislate for it appropriately. When this idea came into being, it was still legal to beat your slave to death. Just as religious laws and cultural traditions become irrelevant, immoral or fail to serve us, so to do common laws become outdated and destructive.
As we develop our understandings of our world, ourselves and our relationship with each other and the universe we exist in, as our minds develop and our self-reflexive capacities become a more powerful and more regularly engaged tool, then we absolutely must be able to look at the things that we have considered as fundamental building blocks of our society with renewed curiosity and questioning.
If not the foundations of a building, then where else does one turn to when seeking stability and longevity. It is not the awnings or the blinds that need updating, rather the very frameworks and foundations we have built this society upon.
If we were to pause for a minute and consider our actions, and to consider the implications of our daily habits, accepted laws and social norms, we will soon realise that the reality we have created for ourselves is not one that we are benefiting from. And we will also realise that our daily actions when extrapolated across a global scale and reflected back to us, are not actions or behaviours that we fundamentally agree with.
So… If my work is of any use to you, then download it, read it, copy it, distribute it, enjoy it, I genuinely don’t mind. If we are to one day live in a world where we have free education, healthcare, housing, water, power and food, can we not first start with poetry?
Erfan

Thank You Headspace

 

I don’t do any more free gigs. I don’t need the ‘exposure’. In fact, more and more these days, I’m inclined to retract from society and maybe just grow apples to feed horses with. In any case, free or discounted gigs with the promise of selling lots of merchandise is not something I do anymore.

 

But… Every now and then. Not often, but occasionally, I will at my own cost, travel to another city to speak, perform or facilitate a workshop with no fee requested, if I believe in the cause or the person inviting me. And that is what I will be doing this weekend.

 

While planning and preparing the Townsville Cultural Festival, I will fly to Brisbane this Friday to offer a workshop in Warwick on Saturday afternoon, and a full-length show in the evening at the Warwick Town Hall.  The event is donation based, and all donations are going to Headspace.

 

I understand that Warwick is a long drive from Brisbane, and I know there are many things to do on a Saturday night in Brisbane. But, I also know that there are people who live in between those two places. And if you happen to find that you are free, this Saturday 1st of July, then do it. Perhaps make a day of it, maybe you’d like to attend the workshop as well or just the performance.

 

Come. Attend. Be present and show me your face. Say hello, and tell me what moves you. Whatever donations you make at the door will go directly to Headspace, and who knows, maybe hearing what I have to say might actually offer you some relief or solace. A support perhaps, as we come to terms with the end of civilisation as we knew it and this existential angst we deal with. Even if just for a short while, let us smile as if we’re not terrified.

 

It is so easy to forget that all we really want in this life is to be heard, to be acknowledged and to be of some form of service to others. That’s it really… to feel good and make people around us feel good. Am I right lads?

 

Anyways, having gone through some heavy shit in my past, having attempted to take my own life, having suffered from debilitating depression and mind shattering anxiety in the years gone by, not only do I have a few things to speak to you about, but also organisations and initiatives like Headspace are important to me.

 

Self-harm, suicide, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks are all signs that our society is not functioning correctly, we are ill, collectively not individually. We have to acknowledge that we are in a bad state. Some would say we have cancer. If we had been a horse in the Melbourne Cup, we would have been put down. Stop eating animals it’s cruel and unkind. If we were a computer we would erase and reformat the drive. Maybe nature will do that for us. I don’t know.

 

But in the meantime, we need initiatives like Headspace, and we need to look out for each other, and we need to acknowledge that as fierce and powerful as we may be, just like nature, we are all also very fragile. We should remind ourselves that we are all seeking our own resolutions and trying to befriend or behead our own demons, however you wish to deal with them.

 

Consider the thought that those people you find so easy to judge, the ones staring at intently at their iPhones on the bus or train home, are just doing their best to not burst into tears in front of others. And maybe when they get to their home and they are alone again, they burst into tears the minute they see their own face in the mirror. Just a thought.

 

So be kind to one another, be gentle, be patient and if you are willing and able to make it to Warwick this Saturday, then be present.

 

Erfan

 

 

Warwick Town Hall 6 pm Saturday 1st July

For event details please email Bronwyn Clark at  bronwyn_millicent_clark@hotmail.com or call or text her on 0421 723 200 to let her know you’re coming.