On this page you will find stories, notes, photos and videos of activities that the core group has organised for the community as well as group members’ self-care practices. We hope you will be inspired to try something new or to share your own healthy daily habits.
Gentle Emergence with Mariam Issa
Mariam Issa is a storyteller and community builder. Now in her 50s, she came to Australia in her 20s as a refugee from Somalia when she was pregnant with her 5th child and has been through 2 civil wars and seen the best and worst of what human beings are capable. She is passionate about working through grief and cultivating grace.
During late 2020, we hosted workshops with Mariam to give local people an opportunity to hear more of her inspiring stories of rising through adversity as we were grappling with our emergence from lockdown. An essential part of her day is waking early to meditate, journal and set her intention. Drawing on the oral storytelling culture she grew up in, she shares diverse stories of her own life journey, traditional African tales that teach life lessons and the wisdom she has developed through her meditation practice.
She weaves stories around practical tools that she teaches to support people to find their strength.
LOVE: Listen with your whole being; Observe without judgment; Validate someone’s story; feel, or encourage someone to feel, the Emotion
FAITH: Feeling, Flow, Freedom; Acceptance, Appreciation, Awareness; Intention, Intuition, Inspiration; Thriving, Transcendence, Timeless; Happy, Harmony, Home
Here are some notes shared by one of our workshop participants (edited for brevity and clarity):
Mariam is a storyteller and has also written a book. She said story telling is made of our human psyche. She shared that she is not afraid of death as in her culture there is no death, there is a continuation of life and that our ancestors who have passed are still in our DNA and that it is only our bodies that die and that our spirits are alive.
She shared a simple diagram of how she sees storytelling – we drew 2 lines: one vertical and one horizontal – we have the teller at the top of the vertical line and the listener/space holder at the bottom of the vertical line, then at the left side of the horizontal line are our ancestors and the right side of the horizontal line our young people. Then in the intersection of the 2 lines in the middle becomes OUR story – where we can share together.
Mariam suggested to us to view grief as a hardship and that we need to go through hardships and not run away from them if possible. And turning our hardships into grace – we spoke of COVID and the gifts that have come out of these hard times and to grow these ‘gifts’ and start telling stories of grace, trust and love.
FAITH acronym that Mariam shared:
F= How can we free ourselves from this system – start to be the new system of freedom where as women (in particular) we can sit on our thrones and crown ourselves with this Faith that comes from our inner selves. Mariam asked us what does freedom feel like? The answers shared were:
Feeling light, ease, joy, connection with people, connected with nature, feel timeless, feel the flow
Learn how to FEEL – use your feelings
ACCEPTANCE – I accept not to go back – we relearn. We have bad habits – acceptance to let go of our bad habits. Bring to this present moment – “I am free” – until my body knows how it relates to this freedom.
Appreciate this freedom to grow awareness
Intentional – you have to be intentional with this freedom. 20 minutes of meditation will help find the flow
Intuitive – learning to use your intuition – regardless how the outside looks, I am going to be fine – I don’t have to go to the beach to be happy –find that happiness without conditions
Inspirational – how can I inspire others – when you want to do thing for others do it for yourself first – then your joyful energy feeds others.
Fulfillment comes from the intentionality
Transcendance – you have to transcend your conditioning so you can enrich your space
We are raising our vibrations – using certain words raises our state of being
We are conditioned to blame and shame ourselves and others – let this go
Thriving – don’t be a survivor anymore – thrive in any condition. Whatever the condition, learn to thrive in it.
Be timeless – be in the present moment
Our culture puts us into a box of time and space – we can transcend this.
H – Be Happy
How do I feel when I am happy?
Be in Harmony with whatever the situation is – find the balance
Find Home – come back home. Whenever you are out of balance –where is home? – find in yourself your space of home – when you find that space, death doesn’t even bother you anymore.
The 20 Minute Art Project
Group member Robyn draws in a notebook for 20 minutes a day, every day. It’s an exercise in self-care – committing time to a creative activity – through which she discovers more about herself and the world.
“This is an invitation but also a gift to yourself from yourself. …
Each day for a year and a day we will be making a twenty minute study (or abstract), not more or less (have a timer and if you’re finished before the alarm goes off just add more detail or shading etc). …
This is a personal and private commitment which is for our own well being not for public display on social media”
Read all the details in this 2 page PDF: The20minartproject