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LEADERSHIP

Recent events have demonstrated how boxed in people can get when they do not think through cause and effect, when basic considerations like self-motivation, or others’ agendas, or even a simple search for truth are ignored in favour of propaganda responses or falling for manipulation tactics.

So how do we know when we’re being used? How do we recognise the difference between rebellion for good and rebellion for evil?

First, we need to have a healthy scorn of our own egos and we need to recognise flattery and we need to see ourselves from the perspective of those who desire to ‘lead’ us – what is their purpose, their tactics, their reality?

Are we so fearful of being scorned that we will do anything to be accepted? Do we follow blindly because of fashion or celebrity or the demands of society, religion, peers and so on?

Real leaders lead by example; they listen to facts and give recognition where it is due. Leaders are not always the ones in charge. A youngster who draws a king’s attention to a situation that needs fixing is showing leadership when he does that in a correct and respectful way. Soldiers who attack defenceless people to push an agenda for a ranting and heavily protected general are cowards. Superstitious reactions and violence towards those trying to help in times of emergency is mob rule, not leadership. Hatred and violence promotes hatred and violence. ‘Political correctness’ is not the answer to opposing ideals.

Look at effects. Consider causes. Understand history and learn its lessons. Do what is good for all, not what is expedient for some. Leaders are not always the ones at the front of the army or those being interviewed by the media; the lad who sees a rake lying the wrong way up on the ground and puts it in a safe position shows leadership through his initiative; the girl who befriends someone being bullied by her peers demonstrates leadership in her courage; those who go out of their way to make things better for others are leaders by encouragement.

On the other hand, the middle-aged manager who screams at her staff or the one who publicly belittles those under his authority are certainly not leaders. They have simply been promoted beyond their abilities and are demonstrating their own incompetence. It is very difficult to respect a grown man (or woman) who throws tantrums like a two-year-old (as Orien tells Fuzzy in North of Himal).

J Sakiya Sandifer put it well: “True leaders don’t create followers… they create more leaders.”

Imagine

Imagine a world where tribes build their own lands and cultures, where each tribe is renowned for its special contributions to the whole planet rather than all tribes being blended into a sort of powdered soup mix to which hot water is added but which doesn’t really vary much in taste or appearance.
Imagine lands where civilisations are unique and uncontaminated by cultural blending or envy of others or feelings of superiority or inferiority, where each tribe rejoices in developing their unique talents and skills. Imagine the resources available to all if there were no massive political, military or commercial entities controlling what could or could not be produced.
Imagine cities where individualism was encouraged, where Mondrianism was rejected in favour of Gaudiesque structures… how amazing would that be?! Or cities filled with green spaces and water features. Suburbs with space to stretch, where windows looked onto gardens instead of the neighbouring wall, where no slums existed, where everything worked.
Imagine farmlands filled with many kinds of produce, with no destructive monoculture or restrictive practices to inhibit individuality, where land was not subjected to droughts or floods or sinkholes and earthquakes due to greed. Envision market-places where you could buy twenty varieties of apples instead of just a few, where blueberries and strawberries tasted like they do in their wild states.
Imagine families freed from ignorance, restrained only by good will, all able to accomplish all things that benefit others, all unable to subject anyone to themselves or to political or religious bondage.
Imagine nations helping and honouring one another, upholding each others rights and lands, never lusting or scheming to take over another nations heritage.
What would it be like?
Imagine.

North of Himal

I’ve been busy with  North of Himal, Book2 of the Adamadas Chronicles over the past month, preparing it for publishing, which has meant a delay in updating this blog.

Book2 takes place north of Himal, a mountain nation served by the wildly unconventional She — those fangs! — who readers met briefly during the Decannoal Conference at The Edj, in Blue. At the end of Blue, Prince Kanan leads a fleet to The Zhrebat to rescue two thousand refugees from the marauding army of NiroVicht of MoGol. His destiny is set when he falls in love with Tashiqa, young Zhyr of The Zhrebat who is among the refugees. Tashiqa is a fighting Zhyr with a strong sense of justice and a deep commitment to ElWay; like Kanan, she is a builder.

One threat remains as Tashiqa and Kanan lead The Zhrebat to its rejuvenation from the ravages of war: MoGol, their paranoid northern neighbour, the only Adamadan nation still clinging to Tcha’aWay, under the oppressive rule of the Bur, is determined to revenge itself on ‘the Zhrebatan pretender and her Ob’ronnee lover’. But not all in MoGol are loyal to the Bur. A small band of rebels is determined to bring MoGol from the darkness into the light and the friendships the band forges with the Zhrebatans and other neighbours, in spite of repression and deception at home, brings great reward. The more they accomplish, the more they are helped by El’b’ith. North of Himal, many amalfa and anafa communicate with people and so the list of characters includes creatures like KoKo the kystylk, Gargan the nyesh,  Shereth the snow hantha and Ay’fel of the fabulous, whispering Ay’yahtsi.

While the book is being prepped for e-publishing, Mavis continues working on maps and illustrations (based on information gleaned by RellimNyl, historical researcher at AlkebulaU in K’nyika-Zambwe), even more than were done for Blue, which will again be displayed on this website.

I hope that North of Himal will be available in September, 2014, when the glossary and gallery will be added to this website, El willing.

Lunch With a Crow

(Once again, this blog is given over to our illustrator, Mavis Stucci; after telling this tale, she was encouraged to give it to a wider audience…)

I once lived in the Blue Mountains, Australia. Near Echo Point at Katoomba, where the sandstone towers of the Three Sisters attract thousands of visitors each year, is a small, pretty park. I’d finished my morning’s work and decided to have lunch there although it was a chilly, grey day. The park was empty except for a family of French tourists at the next table. I arranged my purchases of hot fries, a beef mince pie and a little container of iced coffee – not the healthiest lunch, but mostly hot – on my table, sat down and opened the bag of fries (aka ‘chips’ in Australia).

A flock of noisy currawongs surrounded me immediately. Currawongs are similar to crows or ravens but have yellow eyes and a white band across their tails; they are a cheeky tribe. I tossed them a few fries. Then a crow landed on the table. It was not a large, glossy crow but rather old and bedraggled, and no match for the currawongs; however, its courage was commendable; I passed it a chip, which it took politely from my fingers. We shared the rest of the fries. The French tourists were fascinated. I was, too. It’s not every day that you get to share lunch so intimately with a wild creature.

I ate most of the pie myself but allowed the crow and currawongs a few bits of crust. The crow watched intently as I poked a straw into the iced coffee carton and sipped. It came closer, with an expectant look in its eyes. Do crows drink iced coffee? I wondered.

I left a bit in the bottom and tore the top from the carton. Holding it helpfully at an angle, I offered the drink to the crow, aware of the interest from the French table. The crow took one of my fingers gently in its beak and pulled it away from the carton. (It’s a good thing that I’m not a jumpy sort of person.) I got the message and released the carton. The crow dragged it, upright, without spilling a drop, a little further away, tilted it and drank all that was left of my iced coffee. I wished I’d had a camera on me!

“That’s it,” I said to the crow. “Thank you for your company.”

I stood up, the crow flew away, and the French table smiled. We humans were left with a special memory that forever brightened that dull, grey day.

"If I Ruled the World"...

What if you ruled the world? What would you do? Would you ‘make a difference’ or simply indulge yourself? Would you be inspired by the voice of Nas? Or of Tony Bennett? Two very different approaches there – look up the lyrics – or are they? Both songs focus on a narrow range of choices, limited to the writers’ personal perceptions of freedom and comfort; neither version seeks the will and desire of God, who created the world for us to ‘dress and keep’, and neither deviates from the proud and petulant course that the ‘god of this world’ – for now – has deceived humankind into thinking that we can rule ourselves; history proved long ago that we can’t. Yet people (who have an incredible destiny that they don’t, largely, begin to understand) still think they know all the answers.

Seek truth not opinion, ask God for wisdom and real love so that you can live a rich life, whether you are physically rich or poor in this one. The future will come. And it will be glorious.

 

 

Dolphin dreaming...

I dreamt of a dolphin awhile ago; a dolphin and a young girl. It was a very short dream – more of a vignette than a story.

The setting was tropical, the sun was bright and the sea – probably a lagoon because it was very still – was so clear that I could see all the way to the coral reef and sand below. The colours in the reef were pinks, red, golds, white and pale purple; bright little fish flitted by sea-anemones in a coral garden on rippled sand that reflected refracted sunlight.

At the surface a dolphin floated with just its top fin and the arch of its back above water. Little flicks of its pectoral fins and tail kept it in one place. Although I don’t speak dolphin, she told me she was very contented, enjoying the moment.

Astride the dolphin was a young girl, about eight years old. She wore a simple, blue one-piece with short legs and a plain, backless top. (It wasn’t the attention-getting beachwear we see these days, even on kids.) She was very brown with sunbleached light brown hair, all back-lit by the sun so that she and her dolphin were haloed. The girl seemed completely at peace with her world, legs hanging in the water, hands touching the dolphin’s skin, eyes gazing at the horizon, lost in her daydreams.

I woke and thought how lovely that little vision had been and what a hope it promised for a future without evil.

 

LynMiller has handed the blog post over to me this week.

LynMiller has handed the blog post over to me this week. I’m taking a break from doing illustrations for Book2 of the Adamadas Chronicles (North of Himal), which follows the adventures of Kanan and introduces more creatures, characters and new places to turn into images. We hope North of Himal will be e-published in September. LynMiller is busy working on Book4.

This week I attended a special event – my friend Marilyn Wilson’s book launch for her work, Walking on Eggshells (http://www.yourchoicepublishing.com) which is about recognising emotional/psychological abuse in women, who are the major victims (70%) of this violence; physical abuse may also be connected to this crime. Marilyn is a counsellor with many years’ experience and she found that the accepted counselling methods simply ‘didn’t work’ in these circumstances. Through a series of enlightening events she discovered what did work and felt compelled to write about it in an easily understood and non-academic way that anyone can understand.

In LynMiller’s Adamadas Chronicles, abuse is part of the trials that its characters need to overcome in order to grow and attain their full potential. Abuse can never be dismissed or tolerated. It is a coward’s way to control others and is not limited to abuse against women and children; men can also be victims, usually in the workplace but also by women; children can abuse other children and some abuse their parents or other adults; some run in gangs and abuse those who cannot defend themselves. Abusers are very unlikely to change, though some can, and do. Many simply pretend for a little while – for victims it’s a bit like living as a piece of elastic that gets stretched and released so often that they lose all their vitality. It is the victim who must resist, escape and stop the abuse.

I highly recommend this little book. Yes, I drew the cartoons Marilyn wanted for it, but it is her insight and the real life anecdotes she uses (well camouflaged to preserve client confidentiality) that teach the reader to recognise warning signs in relationships. If you are ‘walking on eggshells’ around your guy, find a better guy! The same goes for guys trapped in relationships that cause them to ‘walk on eggshells’. Friends: support each other; don’t gossip or laugh it off. Be real friends.                                                                                

—Mavis Stucci

 

A Brief Look at the History of Adamadas

Under Chaya’s rule, before the EndWar, Adamadan nations were thickly muddied waters. In some new nations, immigrants overwhelmed indigenous tribes and built new new social structures, and governments were based on law and order with at least a token adherence to ElWay. As they, refugees moved across tribal borders in their millions, seeking relief from poverty, disease and repression; each group had its own agenda, ones often incompatible with the culture of the nation they were entering. As those once prosperous nations buckled under the onslaught of increasingly divergent needs and demands, as cultures and tribes blended into a sort of grey, pluralist soup and wars broke out between nations, factions and beliefs, major powers desperately sought a united compromise that would offend no individual nations rights or feelings – a simplistic and naïve approach, doomed to failure. So they turned to global government with enforced cultural, economic and political standards, which offended everyone. The EndWar quickly followed.

Afterwards, with the population of Adamadas reduced from ten billion souls to less than a tenth of that, with Chaya’s rule ended and only the Tchata’as left to test those who would go on to eternity or to the dust towers in space, the  El’b’ith of Adamadas moved the nations back to their designated lands. With much genetic mixing among the initial settlers, this was a time of angst and confusion yet they found their colours again and the vibrant cultures of their forgotten histories. Each tribe rediscovered its own glorious attributes and nations prospered and bloomed and respected one another.

By the time that Asha became Servant to the nation of Blue, Adamadan society, in general, was transformed. Each nation’s attributes delivered good to the whole planet. Cooperation replaced competition. ElWay replaced a plethora of unworkable human government systems. In peace El prospered each nation – deserts became productive, mountains were made habitable, forests grew and cleaned the air that ChayaWay had polluted, the vast oceans and the lakes and rivers and groundwater were cleansed. People lived as El had designed, in their own places that accommodated families and provided an inheritance for future generations, each one building on, not destroying, the work of their forefathers. Cities stayed small and productive. Nobody built wall-to-wall. Farms did not expand into monoculture but into diversity. Science was true and not dependent on agenda-funding. Medicine became a diminished profession, treating accidents instead of disease, but grew in educating people about health and healing. As Asha discovered, building and healing are far more satisfying, far more joyful, than ambition for power that causes deprivation and destruction.