A week ago Mehrin and I got back from an immersion trip to Lake Mungo, which was offered through the Christian Brothers, an order of the Catholic Church. Muthi Muthi woman Vicki Clark (who was part of the working group that set up our household in 2001) invites groups to come on this trip throughout the year, and you can find information about it here.
One of the things I really appreciated about the trip was the opportunity to pay more attention to sunrise and sunset as bookends to the day. On one of our days at Lake Mungo, Vicki took us out to look out over the lake as the sun gradually rose and also as it set one day. But we also saw a lot of the sunrise and sunset on other days too, because in the desert there’s not a lot to block out the view.
It’s often easy not to notice the sunrise and sunset back in the city, but I’ve been trying to pay more attention to the sunrise and sunset since we got home. I’ve been going up the street to watch it go down, and making more of a habit of stopping work after sunset. (This is important because a lot of the time I can end up working from early in the morning until 9pm or later.) I’ve gotten up just before sunrise a couple of times, but haven’t remembered to go and watch it coming up.
I should know this! I’ve spent enough time recovering from overwork, including a month in hospital a few years ago. Old habits die hard. I’ve had a headache for over a month, which is because a month ago I had one week that was way too busy. Well, actually, the headache it is getting better. It isn’t all day now, but for the first four weeks it was constant. I haven’t been posting here as regularly as I’d like but I’m expecting that’s probably how it’ll need to be at least this month!
I’ve been sick and exhausted for a while because a lot of things have been going on at once. This week i got to have a couple of days to be at home and rest. That’s a way of making room.
I also got to do some cleaning and tidying before a new housemate moves in to be more involved with our project. That’s another way of making room.
While we had a room empty, I was using the empty room to work and study, so I’ve needed to move my things. But that’s been an opportunity to rethink how I can best use the space I have. I don’t have a lot of space to work and study in, but I’d allowed it to get pretty messy and inefficient. I’d also had some ideas about how I could better organise the space, so it would be easier to work in. that’s another way of making room.
Today is Labour Day, when we celebrate the achievements for workers rights. In March 1856 stonemasons downed tools and walked off the job in Melbourne. They refused to return until their bosses had agreed to better working conditions, including an eight hour standard work day (some workers were having to work up to 14 hours per day), sick pay and holiday pay.
This evening our household is taking time to reflect on work and rest.
I’ve been reminded that working together creates rapport. It bonds us as a community. I don’t think you can make community out of a bunch of people wanting to be community – you need to have some common work. In my old workplace we’d try to regularly do common work together after meetings. Often it would involve fixing things, painting walls or cleaning areas that were hard to get to. It may not have always been super effective or efficient, but it bonded us as a community when we practised it.
On Friday our household did similar at our. Our property manager ken came over and we spent the day repainting window frames. Other times in the last year we’ve done more general working bees. When we’ve cast the net wide for people who wanted to help we’ve gotten a lot done together and we’ve had something to celberate together when it gets to lunch time. Its very satisfying being able to sit back and see what we’ve gotten done.