Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Art of Connectiveness - Shoalhaven, The Third Progression

I’ve written about the art of connectiveness before and came back to it because I feel ‘connectiveness’ as a word will gather strength and occupy thoughts in many people’s minds.

My proposed publication “Connections to the Earth” has been occupying my mind over the last two weeks. I prepared an outline and know the subject is relevant, but the storyline should have been told 25 years ago. It’s about 25 years (mid 1980’s) that a realisation was awakening that we humans were disconnecting with the Earth and technology and lifestyle taking us away from its bounds. We’re becoming aliens to our own planet. This trend and process has been accelerating and reaching a stage where people wherever are asking themselves “do I want to remain disconnected and have I gone too far in my disconnection?” 

“Connections to the Earth” will take a new twist. This one I propose to subtitle “Shoalhaven, The Third Progression” because the Shoalhaven on the New South Wales South Coast was my home and a land use study I completed (settlement patterns from 1797 until 1986), indicated European settlement within the Shoalhaven had evolved through three transformations or progressions.

The first progression was one of connection i.e. coming to terms with the land and being restrained by available technology. Resident’s access to Sydney was via sailing boat and steamer and the land tilled by horse and plough. Land users were self-reliant and supplied Sydney with timber, dairy products and vegetables.

The second progression was one of disconnection i.e. technology had given landowners and residents the means to leave the land or use it to its capacity. Shoalhaven became a region where service and manufacturing industries displaced rural and growth of towns and villages became dependent on Sydney for the district’s welfare. Residents lost touch with the land as provider and the land instead became something under their feet to build worlds of their making. 

The third progression was becoming aware to me as I completed the study in 1986. I termed this progression as something of rebirth and one of re connection. This process is very important for any community’s welfare, security and well-being. In the Shoalhaven’s case it became recognised when Sydneysiders (its residents) explored and discovered the Shoalhaven as a destination for recreation, environment, leisure and retirement. Shoalhaven’s beaches, bushland, scenery, rivers and relatively undeveloped coastal villages attracted Sydneysiders for weekend visitation and upon retirement, home. They were in part seeking a re connection with the Earth.

If you have any thoughts on this subject and want me to get stuck into doing the book, let me know.

Keep well, Ross

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New 2011

Happy New Year to you all and a numerologist friend said 2011 offers new beginnings, so hopefully it’s going to be a good one for us all. If we step towards new beginnings we have to leave something of our past behind and that’s difficult for some of us.

Rain and more rain seems to be the way into the New Year along the eastern half of Australia especially along the eastern seaboard and where I live at Arrawarra in New South Wales.

Personally I have been preparing the foundations to write a draft for ‘’Spirit of a Place’’. It could be a beauty as I transform myself into a person questioning and taking a journey to find spiritual harmony. Some words kept returning and these hopefully become the focus of the publication. The words are ‘’the place is the spirit’’ and ‘’ the spirit is the place’’. Have you had similar thoughts about describing your feelings when within a place which has charm, history, something of the unknown or an unique and powerful energy? It’s comforting and daunting to be within such places.

Before getting into ‘’Spirit of a Place’’ I’m off to Nowra on the New South Wales South Coast to record conversations with my sister Eula and brother Max about their relationships and memories of growing up with our father and mother. I will record conversations with my remaining two brothers, Frank and Lance and eventually draw a composition of conversations about our parents and life as children growing up in the 1940’s to 1960 periods. A time of great change in agriculture as technology changed the face of farming worldwide. Our father was a very progressive and hard working person who placed great reliance on his children to get the job done.

I’m going to call the conversations ‘’The Old Man’’ which is the name we gave Dad when we spoke about him. The story will relay rural life in Australia and that of a dairy farming family. Not forgetting the role of our mother Ellen or Nell and hopefully the conversations form a family based book which I could make available for publication. Another one! I’m a beggar for punishment. Let’s hope so.

Keep well, Ross

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Myanmar - Change or Stagnation

Recalling my recent visit to Myanmar and relishing in the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from confinement, I for one remain disillusioned in the void between Myanmar’s Generals and the bulk of the country’s population who are likely to remain impoverished. It’s a damn shame that the countries leaders can’t introduce the benefits of distributing Myanmar’s wealth down into the hands and families representing the true Myanmar.
The quiet response in the election build up and post election suggest to me the military took a more determined response to monks entering the streets of Yangon and Mandalay during 2008. Monks are too subdued or silent suggesting the crackdown on them was harsh and brutal and the numbers silenced far greater than those made public.

The newly formed Government of November 2010 increasingly confident the release of Aung San Suu Kyi won’t destabilise their control over the country. The mechanics of government so strong no willingness is prepared to emerge fostering the promotion of democracy and push for change other than through negotiation and appeasement with Government.

Wandering around the streets of Yangon and thinking to myself, we in the West don’t know the true meaning of suffering yet the people of Yangon continue to do their own thing and seem content and happy, survival at the foremost of their minds and distancing themselves completely from Government and military. I for one feel they’ll persevere and remain happy.

Democracy as we know it would be an extremely long and bitter sweet process for the Myanmar people to endure. I for one feel change in Myanmar will rely on the changing attitudes and direction from the top and allowing them to filter downwards. Myanmar’s Government and leaders could do no better than to observe and copy processes adopted by other regimes to broaden education, health and employment opportunities e.g. Vietnam. Democracy will come to Myanmar through modernisation and Incrementalism and filter its benefits through its people. 

Oh, I forgot there’s such a thing as human rights and they being recognised in Myanmar would do justice to its people.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Myanmar - Top Heavy, Bottom Down and In The Wings of China

Having just returned to Australia (after being advised to get out of Myanmar before the elections results are posted), I want to comment on some observations while on a travel journey into this beautiful, fractured and brittle land.

Firstly the Military, and presumably soon to be anointed Government, hold within its power and control 80-90% of the countries wealth. Myanmar is a top heavy and no feed to the bottom economy. Underneath the military the country’s public servants and middle class have access to about 20% of the country’s wealth and remainder taking what’s left over, this grouping making up about 70-80% of the population. Like an old style Cuba and looking like it through the antiquated Toyota Coronas and Corollas servicing Yangon's taxi fleet and dominant road users; dodging potholes and broken streets. Vehicles held together with hope and not much else. A country held together with brutal dominance at the top and ‘’just let me just do my own thing’’ at the bottom.

These assertions I’ve suggested signify Myanmar’s future. The military with their connections and cronies control the country’s wealth and distribute this wealth, as seen fit. The middle classes get a share and do well (alongside professional and small to medium sized businesses who feed from the top and bottom). The majority of Myanmar’s population lead lives of continued denial (to education, health and infrastructure support) and remain in entrenched poverty. Ironically, they are tolerant, content and mostly happy (as good Buddhists do in adverse situations).

Another scenario is China sitting up there to Myanmar’s north and the Indian Ocean (and access to it), waiting in the south. The Irrawaddy caresses its way through the country and within, a most valuable resource in fertile soils, climate stability, cheap labour, natural gas and water for power and irrigation. Teak forests abound and in all, too valuable to let Myanmar fall into the hands of Western styled democracies and that of wealth distributed top down as Western democracies postulate (but seldom practice).

I suggest Myanmar will remain under the influence of China, continue to do so and indefinitely enough to resist any Western styled democracy take hold. Myanmar’s military staying where it is because of convenience to remain so.

I for one would like to see the Myanmar Government realise they have a beneficial future by sharing its wealth with the 70 or so percentage of their population at the bottom and these able to share and participate in strengthening an economy less reliant on the influences of a few. Myanmar could learn from China’s modernisation and adopt some of its programs to accommodate limited and beneficial Western influences.

I doubt such an outcome and feel Myanmar will continue to drift along its slow crippled pathway of denial and entrenched poverty for its people.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Myanmar Update

In Yangon, Myanmar at present. Myanmar is a land of monks and potholes. The potholes in the roads are winning. I suppose its the perpetual rain at present and more to come as a low pressure system moves into the Bay of Bengal. I hope it doesn't dump too much rain onto the lower Irrawaddy Delta because (from the air) its in full flush with a great rice crop in the making.

I guess I'm only human and presently have a persistent stomach bug which has taken home somewhere in my intestine tract. I wish it would take its leave from my previously balanced (Chi tuned) body.

Of concern was postponement of travel plans to visit Myauk-U and its temples. The tropical low hopefully will abate and I'll return in two weeks time and try again. I had a feeling the temples and their landscapes would connect with me in a spiritual sense and satisfy the quest of my journey. I think we all have a spirit out there somewhere waiting for us to recognise and connect with it. Many find their spirits through the Church, Synagogue or Temple. Although some of us don't take that pathway and try to find a spiritual connection elsewhere. Its a personal thing and part of our inner self wanting to come out.

Myself, I'm on a spiritual journey in the looking of my inner self and feel my spirit lies with nature and surroundings free from human change and dominance. Those temples in Myauk-U could have met my dream. Although Bagan is coming up (next week or so) and for many its splendour is very spiritual and to some a home of the spirits. Mankind at peace with nature and harmony transcending over the landscape.

We'll see what occurs over the next 2 weeks.

Keep well, Ross

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sustainable Feng Shui

Jannette Tibbs and myself have finally got Sustainable Feng Shui Gardening into a draft stage for reviewing. I found the book thought provoking as I sought new ideas and applications for the garden.

Feng Shui definitely has a place for those wanting to practice sustainable gardening. By balancing Yin and Yang and encouraging Chi to remain healthy and abundant, the garden basically practices its own form of sustainability. Recognising Sha Chi and getting the gardens five-element balance right also assist.

Of interest were my findings in the Personal Garden section. (I split the book into a discussion of four gardens – Feng Shui, Energy, Natural and Personal). One of the findings suggested sustainability within us is as important as sustainability in our surroundings. If we get our body and mind balanced in its Chi, we’re practicing sustainability.

I was drawn to the relevance of personal sustainability while visiting the garden of a friend last weekend. This garden is over 2 hectare or five acres and cared for by a full time gardener, the garden in its spring flush with Chi flow stimulated and abundant and our connection to it very stimulating to our mind and soul.

Discussing Fingers of Energy (my next Ebook) I mentioned we couldn’t really connect and enjoy our surroundings unless we felt harmonious. I recalled my Yin hand energies and its five fingers suggesting our body balanced in its rhythm and flow; mind being clean and free; spirituality and its two words of love and peace; relationships and the two words of humour and contentment and finally; the last finger (five on each hand) knowledge and its two – tolerance and fulfilment. Not a bad package at all to call upon and keep ourself in harmony. Sustainability comes along for the ride.

Geeing up the mind for the O/S trip of Borneo, Burma and Bali (the 3 B’s), I thought about themes and ideas including the notion all things have energy and through our Zen (for a better word), they have a spirit. Wow, interesting stuff and not a bad idea to work with and hopefully coming away from the trip with some resolutions to that notion and others.

I hope to discuss and identify the difference between Chi energy and spiritual energy and ask a lot of questions to myself and of the reader when ‘’Spirit of a Place’’ comes into reality. I hope I tread new ground.

Keep well, Ross

Saturday, October 2, 2010

No.3 Lorikeet is now behind me...

Sorry about the delay in getting an updated blog prepared. Number 3 Lorikeet Lane (a relocatable home I have purchased and doing up) has been a drain on time and energy, but now ready for occupation. I hope to sell my own and move across to it sometime later in the year.

I’ve completed two articles on Number 3 and its gardens. Of interest is the technique I used in laying out a design theme for the garden. I call it ‘’Gardening on the Curve’’ and basically ensuring whatever was introduced was fitting into a curved pattern of arrangement. No straight lines and set out to stimulate Chi but still encourage its presence (Chi likes to meander and not be rushed). There are some photos accompanying the articles to explain something of curves.

The garden is in its Yang phase at present (as are some bare and new constructed gardens), still disjointed and unsettled, but Yin has been shown through the entry, likes what it sees and is taking residence. Yin will quickly influence and convert the garden into something of its naturalness (Wood, Water and Earth elements) expressed in the green and meandering curve of lawns and garden beds taking hold, giving me the opportunity later on to introduce some Yang elements such as figurines or such, an urn and statue of a Buddha image carefully sited somewhere to show off the garden’s peacefulness and harmony. These will stimulate the Chi and enhance the gardens overall appearance. I’ll wait until I return from another trip away before introducing these elements.

Suggesting I leave for the three ‘’B’s’’ of Borneo, Burma (Myanmar) and Bali on October 15th for five weeks. My journey is to find and connect with places and hopefully become entranced in the imagery of a place to put pen to paper and write about the ‘’Spirits of a Place’’. This will form another publication and it’s going to be a beauty and in part exploring the role of Chi in our surroundings and influences of Yin and Yang. I believe all things have a spirit and it’s their collective energy which makes up the spirit of a place. As to how they fit I’m not too sure but the site and their spirits will let me know. I’ll be treading new ground with some ideas, so in time it will be out there for others to read and I hope enjoy.

The publication ‘’Sustainable Feng Shui Gardening’’ has reached a final draft form and over the next week or two I’ll arrange with Jannette Tibbs to install photos and a number of diagrams to illustrate some of the ideas. It turned out to be a beauty and broke new ground and ideas for recognising and practicing sustainability. Feng Shui enthusiasts already understand the influence Chi flow and Yin and Yang balance have on sustainability so I’m testing it with other approaches in the garden. I’ve split the book into four garden approaches (Feng Shui, Energy, Natural and Personal) and each has an important role to play in sustainability. I hope a publisher finds and makes something out of it so it’s not lost out there in the void of the internet.
’Fingers of Energy’’ and ‘’Me, Chi and Harmony’’ are likely to be added to the website while I’m away and hopefully these two broaden the scope of the website and offer something deeper in the way I see things.
I’ll run an update to my blog when I’m away as much as possible. I don’t have a laptop or one of those fancy phones which can connect anyone to anyone and have to rely like many backpackers on an internet cafe. Doing emails in Myanmar maybe difficult because the elections are underway and the Government becomes sensitive to what is potential expressed. To myself I keep away from that stuff and concentrate on the marvels of Burma’s lost cities and the mighty Irrawaddy River.

Finally, in early 2011, I’m going to prepare 2/3 DVD’s on Harmonious Chi Gardening to explain the text more openly and introduce some new ideas and techniques in gardening for enhanced and sustained Chi flow, harmony still treasured and waiting there for us to meet with it and that of nature. If you know of anyone who lives in the SE Queensland or Northern New South Wales and is good at working a video recorder, let me know.

Keep well, 


Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th, has arrived in August and is it lucky or not? One plus three equals four and that’s an unsettling number, but the day has been Ok for me, so what’s to complain.

Myself, I’ve been busy doing up the relocatable home next to me here at Arrawarra. It’s coming along well. Australians would suggest it has been bloody hard work but that’s OK. Number three’s garden will wait until I get to it, bit I’m not rushing, knowing the garden will evolve into something better by a ‘steady as it goes’ approach and laying it out to stimulate its Chi. That time will arrive in the next few weeks, as winter with its Yin gives way to emergence of Yang and Spring and that instilling life and that’s a good time to work in the garden to encourage that flush of growth and vitality.

Jannette Tibbs and I have finally got ‘Me Chi and Harmony’ where we want it. It promises to be a pleasant read and story of an Australian learning to understand something about the environment, a transition in his personal life and learning to apply a different form of husbandry to the land and that leading into a spiritual association. There are some lessons in it for us all.

‘Fingers of Energy’ is very close to completion and that too promises to be a good read and hopefully opening up different horizons for the reader, understanding something different about themselves and relationship to others. The story introduces something of Yin and Yang and its many extensions into our lives. This one I think will provide something very unique and exciting.

I keep feeling Fingers of Energy will become well known and for some a ‘guide to life’. Whatever the outcome, it promises to be thought provoking and continually asks the reader to become involved in developing the ideas and guide it into its future.

Hope you’re traveling well.

Ross Lamond

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What's been happening with me?

I’ve been pretty busy lately. Jannette Tibbs and I have been installing about twenty illustrations for the new publication 'Fingers of Energy' and they really bring the text to life. The eBook will hopefully show its face on the website with the next month or so.

Jannette has convinced me to complete 'Me Chi and Harmony' a bit earlier because it seems to be a good read and illustrates a journey and discovery of Chi along with my upbringing as an Australian farmer. I’ve seemed to have taken a journey from that of naivety and ignorance as a farmer (impacts on our environments) leading to an awakening and learning, doing something about it and enjoying the benefits good husbandry with the land can produce. It’s a journey many people of the land have taken as we become more aware of the role in being responsible to the land that surrounds us. The final stage in the publication suggests another awakening and that of Chi and the natural energies, of spirituality and connectiveness to nature and its landscapes. A process evolving as a complete cycle and something many of us are doing right now around the planet.

I’ve made a airflight booking (cheap as chips) via KL in Malaysia to Yangon in Myanmar and from Yangon fly to Myitkyina and come down the Irrawaddy River to Bagan and spend time on a horse drawn sulky visiting the thousands of temples scattered across the Bagan plain. The energies of the place will come to me and I’ll use the occasion to put together something for the upcoming 'Spirit of a Place' publication. I feel a deep and spiritual occasion coming up and I hope of great use in my future work.

Finally, I'm making arrangements to produce a series of short video clips and downloads to explain my interpretations to Harmonious Chi Gardening. These should help those wanting to get a better grip on harmonious chi gardening and its wondrous opportunities to view and take the garden into a new direction and influence over your connection with it. Exciting stuff and I’ll also work to produce short video clips or snapshots (for free downloads) on general aspects of gardening including a series on “How to Plant a Plant’’. I apologise in not recognising the benefits of video sooner in explaining something new such as harmonious chi gardening.

Hope your well, Ross Lamond

Friday, June 18, 2010

YouTube Branded Page

We have just added a new Feng Shui Garden Branded Page on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/fengshuigarden1. I will be making a series of 'how to' videos on Feng Shui Gardening along with some promotional videos for my eBooks. It should be an exciting project and one that will develop as time goes on.

Add me as a friend so we can spread the Feng Shui community and enjoy each others work. Also keep checking the website Feng Shui Garden for updated articles and my newly published eBooks.

Regards, Ross