Bad things happen when one refuses gifts. It’s bad manners for one thing. It offends the giver. It’s a given (ha, pardon the pun) that we receive gifts on special occasions. Christmas comes to top of mind for instance. It’s a cleverly marketed and heavily commercialised occasion for buying stuff for our friends and family which they may or may not love, use, keep, need or want.
The meaning of gift to me, is my writing. I believe it must be accepted by myself firstly, and then by those who are my nearest and dearest so that I don’t offend the giver, whatever that force, creative spirit may be.
Ever since my arrival in Australia, my newfound land, my rediscovered gift for writing has surprised me time after time. It’s gotten me in trouble with people who misunderstood what I was trying to say (perhaps I needed to communicate better), into and out of jobs and just kept on pushing me to keep pushing that pen, hitting those keys on the keyboard and go a step further, a little deeper, keep digging until the source of the issue, like groundwater showed its shimmer and then I’d take the drops, quench my thirst and muster up the strength to continue to look for more of it.
When I don’t get a chance to write, to tie the loose ends of the day into some sort of narrative from which I can draw inspiration and strength, I become a hard person. The lifegiving spring within me runs dry and I simply have no more love, energy, enthusiasm or presence to give.
Such is the danger of getting in touch with one’s creativity. It gives you a chance to experience life in a deeper more meaningful way, but you must always create to continue to feel the joys or you suffer the lows. Here’s another thing about creativity – everyone is creative.
This means all of you, dearest friends and family, who have bestowed material gifts last Christmas, you all have within you, creative gifts just like my gift for writing. Not everyone has the benefit of taking a break from 9-5 jobs, family obligations or frenzied shopping to buy gifts for their loved ones on special occasions dictated to us by society, to discover their innate gifts.
I hope this book will inspire you to talk to me if you ever feel stuck. I know it’s not the Australian way, and no body like so called whingers, and I want you to know you are my friends and family and my ears are always open to listen til the cows come home until you feel you’ve hit on the source and it quenches your thirst.
I have all of you to thank for bringing this book to existence. Martin, mum, Cheryl, Maz, Akin, Simon, Belinda, Imogen, Helen, Louie, Kate and Christabelle. You were all present last Christmas and have gifted me the objects which I have used as a basis for deepening the relationship I have with my gift, all of you and my community in Crows Nest. Not to give away the ending, but none of these objects are in my possession and please know that they were all released back into the wilderness to do incredible things wherever they ended up.
I can’t skip thanking Marie Kondo (KonMari) of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying” fame and Sophia from my mothers’ group who recommended the book in the first place. In Marie’s words:
“Don’t keep gifts out of guilt. After the joy of the gift-giving moment is through, you can donate the gift without guilt. It has served its purpose.”
I am also indebted to the generosity of Rich Peterson of the Generous Company, who was my accountability buddy there to read the words I’d written. A writer without a reader is like a speaker with no audience. Without knowing that there’d be at least one person there to read my words before they made their way to you, the intended audience, and to make sure I was saying things properly with love resonating from every word, I simply could not keep on this path and if I’d never finished this book an important part of me would remain in the dark, possibly to shrivel and die from the lack of light and air.
Another shout-out goes to Anne Aly, whose last name I look at and see “Ally”. Her generous sharing of her story on March 20th (one day before Harmony Day) at the Stanton Library, inspired me to go full force after my writing dreams. Anne’s an academic, a politician and a world renowned counter-radicalization expert who smashed through cultural and financial limitations to find her place. She’s signed my copy of her book “Dear Eda, find your place!”. I will.
Thank you again for being an important part of my life and I can only hope that this gift is received in the spirit by which it was written – with great joy which has renewed my fond memories of last Christmas and our relationship with each other.
I love you.