Today I write about my Why: it’s expressed in the title of this blog. I write all of these blogs at the Darebin Intercultural Centre in Preston Australia a placed that healed me after six years of a mental health crisis that included six psych unit hospitalisations totalling a period of six and a half months, my advice, never let this happen to you.
In our brochure our ethos is explained, it is as follows “Where difference is acknowledged, explored, understood and celebrated. Darebin Intercultural Centre aims to foster respectful and constructive interracial, intercultural and interfaith relations between and amongst people who live, work or play in Darebin. The Centre is a dedicated space for Intercultural development, dialogue, engagement, participation and celebration.”
How did I end up here? After working for Centrelink, a government agency who deals with the unemployed, the disabled and the elderly, read the people who others want to forget exist for 14 years I ended up being dismissed never to work again after being Manager of the most chaotic Newstart section in Melbourne ending my career doing filing because I did not listen to what my heart and body were saying to me, which was, Get the Fuck out.
I spent about two years lying around my flat believing what they had said when I saw an ad in the local newspaper: Free Colombian film night. I was drawn to this as South America is one place that is on my bucket list. I fought against my social anxiety and went to the Darebin Intercultural Centre for the film.
When I arrived there was an incredibly diverse crowd of cultures just hanging out together being friends. It spoke to my heart and to this day I do not know what gave me the courage to ask the manager Inaam did they need any volunteers. I do not know why she replied yes, as they had never had any before.
Over the following five years I have done many things and at the moment being an English tutor three days a week, my dear old dad, if he was alive would be very proud because he always wanted me to follow in his footsteps as a teacher up until the day I was expelled at the end of Year 11 for non attendance as I hated the formal school system.
I feel that my friend Marc Chernoff’s list called 10 Actions That Always Bring Happiness speaks to my joy of being involved with the Centre:
1. Appreciate how much you have.
2. Focus on things that really matter.
3. Define your own meaning in life, and pursue it.
4. Embrace life’s challenges.
5. Find the balance that allows you to be who you truly are.
6. Love your body enough to take care of it.
7. Limit your time with negative people.
8. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
9. Set a good example.
10. Accept what is, and live for the possibilities that lie ahead.
I chose to learn about new cultures as the way of empowering my intercultural journey, but what does the planet say about it:
1. No words really needed.
2. Travel is a great way to discover new cultures. Be careful you may fall in love with one, and never leave: Greece – The Best Love Song.
3. You have to open your eyes to let love in.
4. Live your life to the full, A Ho: Loving Life.
5. In December there is something to celebrate every day, not just Christmas. My favourite is December 30th: National Bicarbonate of Soda Day.
6. This is why I love our Centre, I am always learning new ways of these things being expressed: Where Is The Love.
7. Vironika Tugaleva is an award-winning author, poet, spoken word artist, life coach, wanderer, visual artist, vocalist, and seeker of beauty in all its forms.
8. I don’t always agree with Ayn Rand but this hits home: Life is Worth Living.
9. Exercise your compassion for others and their diverse cultures and build up your wing strength.
10. Strange a right-wing conservative came up with this: I was Here.
11. From the most famous of philosophers, Ms Unknown comes this power quote on the beauty of Interculturalism.
12. Abdel-Fattah studied a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law at the University of Melbourne. During this time, she was the Media Liaison Officer at the Islamic Council of Victoria, a role that afforded her the opportunity to write for newspapers and engage with media institutions about their representation of Muslims and Islam. She completed her PhD on Islamaphobia. Abdel-Fattah was a passionate human rights advocate and stood in the 1998 federal election as a member of the Unity Party (slogan: Say No to Pauline Hanson). I Don’t Like It.
13. Spiritualism explained really well.
14. From the man who refused to cut the Arts budget to fund a war, here is another on the importance of art and culture: Beasts of No Nation.
15, For our final lesson, what are we up to with our addiction to learning from Social media and not libraries.
If you want to empower others in your life. you need to start living the most empowered version of your self first, that is why finding your why in life is so important. You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream, I’m 65. Believe in what you want so much that it has no choice but to become your reality. And don’t ever compare yourself to anyone else; stay focused on your own journey and leave footprints behind. My blog has left footprints in 104 countries across the planet, I find this amazing.
I have fulfilled a dream today in the playlist, I got to include a Fela Kuti song. We begin with a love song to Greece, Our unknown artist at 57,000 likes is a fine voice from Lysa. The Black Eyed Peas do that song next. Back to modern times with Justin Bieber and Beyonce. Some Aussie edification with the satiricalness of Pauline Pantsdown and we complete with my dream track from Fela Kuti: Love and Respect for All, Everyone Included.
So this is the joyfulness and one of the loves of my life, The Darebin Intercultural Centre where I was gifted my Why one afternoon sitting at my desk: Love and Respect for All, Everyone Included. Until next time we meet, my dear friends.