Thursday, September 18, 2014

Storm Struck or Star Struck?

Have you ever experienced that point between waking and sleep where your conscious mind losses touch with reality and you would swear that you were in another time or place? This is a very bizarre sensation that I think can give insight into what’s occupying our subconscious, just as our dreams can.

Registering the flash of lightning and the loud crash of thunder rattled my sleeping mind and brought me to semi consciousness, to the point where I also registered that there was pouring rain. Usually this would just be a passing acknowledgement before dropping back into dreamland, but in this case it was different. There was a moment, I think before I had fully achieved consciousness where I clearly remember being shocked but thrilled that is was raining so heavily and justifying the fierceness of the lightning storm as being the product of the California desert climate. It was a moment of celebration as I thought the drought had broken and that this could be a very exciting night if the intensity of the storm continued. Opening my eyes a minute later I was confronted with the confusing unfamiliarity of a room that slowly registered in my mind as my own.

I was no longer in Los Angeles or its surrounds but back in my bed in little old Hamilton, New Zealand. This was both reassuring and disappointing as my sleep muddled mind could only register what Los Angeles was missing out on. Or perhaps it was my subconscious trying to tell me what I was missing after having just returned from two weeks of amazing experiences in Los Angeles and Anaheim. Fortunately or unfortunately my brief but profound return to consciousness didn’t last for more than the next couple of thunder crashes before I descended back into slumber.

When I woke this morning I was hit again by the memory of the storm experience and I was left with a sense of wistful reminiscence and strengthened determination to find a way to return to LA at some point in the future. It has clearly been a place with experiences and people who have left a mark on me and I will continue on with this added richness to my life and see where this crazy life takes me next. I am sure that the next few days and weeks will be filled with reminiscing and retelling of events to friends and family. I can only hope that the shine and freshness of these memories won’t dissolve into the shadowy recesses of my mind, as I want to keep the glow and excitement of that time with me always.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Counting up and downs

Recently my days have been spent on a see-saw of anxiety and excitement. Sometimes I feel like I am raised high and have the thrill of being seemingly suspended in the air, but then with a whoosh and bump I land in anxiety. It is this up and down experience that is leading me one day at a time to what has been a goal and dream in some form for years.

Travel has always represented freedom, discovery and adventure to me and all others who have the urge to travel in their soul. I have been fortunate to have been on a number of journeys, both here and overseas, but I have always had this urge to see further afield.

Over the last couple of years the United States has developed an inexplicable allure for me, where before it wasn't especially interesting. I suppose it is a place that both fascinates and horrifies me. A place that offers such difference and diversity in its abundance and poverty is bound to intrigue the anthropologist in me. At the same time there is a part of me that wants to see the bright lights and glitzy hype of the center of America's movie and television industry-Hollywood and Los Angeles at large.

It is with excitement and trepidation, as well as the conflict of my inner anthropologist with my heart of a teenage fangirl that I continue on this see-saw of a countdown, entering my last week till take-off. There are sure to be challenges and excitement of all kinds but overall I am willing to face them and enjoy them with the company of my wonderful traveling companions.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tongue-tied:a poem

I wish that I could borrow a word or snatch a phrase from the mouths of those whose ability to turn a sound into a scene and confusion into clarity, flows with natural ease.

To catch a breath, that would allow the notes of a thousand silent divas or the ideas of 100 frustrated poets to spill forth from my clumsy tongue. 

The power and pent up emotion is caged and fettered by the limits of the space it has been granted 

Dreams of poetic passion and elegant eloquence are lacking to my own ears, as I strive, grasping and faltering to try to create the smooth magic of others words. 

Few realize the full force of a symphonies masterpiece if it is only played with one violin string. That is the gap that spans between my words and my voice . But if my tongue lacks subtlety or my voice lacks power 

I will find a way for you to feel my words, 

to feel me. 

I will repeat myself over and over until you do.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Conflict or Conversation

"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted every time I am contradicted" -R.W Emerson

It seems so easy these days with fragile egos and larger than life personalities for a simple conversation to turn into a battle ground. Listening to conversations go from an exchange of ideas and opinions to a verbal fist fight is not the best example for public figures or any adult to be setting for those around them.

I understand that there is definitely a line between good communication in which people take ownership of their ideas and opinions versus those who attack with their words or try to make it a personal issue. Having the experience of living in a physically disadvantaged position I have met people who see this as a reason to assume and to dominate in conversation. Other times it can trigger people to be extra delicate in how they address conversations to someone in my position. Neither of these approaches should be acceptable or reasonable in conversation with anyone. Just as I have learned to correct peoples misinformed assumptions about my personal capabilities, I feel people should be able to express themselves and their opinions in a respectful but direct way.

Seeing so many public figures ending up on the verge of open argument on T.V and the popularity of shows like Keeping up with the Kardashian's encourages narcissism, which is a significant contributor to the difficulties that face scenarios of open dialogue these days.

As someone who has grown up with people who have difficulty in discussing things without feeling personally affronted it has encouraged me to sharpen my conversation and presentation abilities to avoid some of the traps that people can fall into. Because communication is so important in helping to change the opinions and behaviour surrounding issues key to our communities well being and the improvement of our country and humanity as a whole (not wanting to be over dramatic of course), I hope there is a return to calmness and rationality in how people approach communicating with each other.

The quote that began this rant is from Ralph Emerson, who I have written about previously and I feel that again his words have relevance beyond the time in which they were written. I hope that there will be people from my own generation whose words will last and reach out to future generations to inspire others to think more deeply and approach aspects of their lives with new positive perspectives. 

The force of community

My family home is set in a long established subdivision in a small coastal town in the Bay of Plenty. It has the feel of a close knit community where people still smile and greet you as you pass one another on the footpath or wave out their window as they pass in a car. A place where people seem to know and care for their neighbors and neighborhood, reflected in the effort to reach out and share overflows of garden produce or fishing bounty or even the genuine conversations at community barbecues or concerts.

The sense of community is about having interest and awareness of the existence of others outside the bubble of our own household and lives, the desire to be sociable and involved in developing and maintaining a sense of togetherness as part of being a resident in this place. These things motivate the local people who participate in this little community within a community. It has been a nourishing experience to come back to a place where I now consider myself a visitor, and yet I am greeted as a familiar face by both those who know me, just as much as by those who only know of me by name or stories and news that has passed along the grapevine.

This openness and care that seems to shine in the acts of neighborliness and friendship that happen on a daily basis are all things that ease the flow of life's course by filling the spaces and easing the rough patches that we all experience.These are the things which seem to be missing in many towns, cites and neighborhoods.Many factors play a part in keeping the lives of people who live across the fence or down the street from one another separate and fragmented but
"Life is not permanent, make the most of it. Quality not quantity, don't rush and stress to fill time but cherish and give back in the moments you have."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Finding a direction

As so often happens these days, it is my little sister who seems to inadvertently find videos or words or images that express things that have been on my heart or mind for some time, but I haven't always even been aware that they are waiting to be expressed.

We have both adored the music created by this talented performer, known as Passenger, but today it is the words and melody of this song he created that has provided a pathway through which my feelings and thoughts on Purpose and Love (positive regard/kindness/care etc) can be expressed.

It seems like the most natural thing to want to give love and receive love and to have people in our lives who we can depend on and be depended on in return. I guess that's one of the big reasons why people enter relationships and start families, it gives us a purpose in life, to have these bonds to maintain.

I feel like for a long time I struggled with this underlying purpose in life. I have never been interested in starting a family or been maternal in any way and the idea that we should be restricted to who we provide love, respect, concern and care for has for a long time seemed utterly ridiculous to me. It feels like, if we are driven to be connected and to love, why are we limiting ourselves? Why can't we look outside our little circle of people to share positive regard with humanity in a wider sense?

These questions, which remained in my subconscious mind for a long time, are probably why I felt like I should find a career in psychology, which changed to counseling, which changed to mentoring and advocacy. Each of these evolutions or redirecting of purpose has ultimately been in search of more freedom and greater opportunities to reach out to people and to leave a positive impression.

This is now my purpose. To love and care for people regardless of whether I know them or even like them. I want to spend the rest of my life, in whatever form it comes, helping people to have the happiest and most contented life they can. Everyone deserves to be loved in some way, whether it's shown in a smile or hug or good deed or a comforting conversation.

Being on Ellen's show would give me not only the once in a lifetime experience of meeting her and being in LA but also being able to reach millions of people in the space of five minutes. Who knows what sort of positive ripple effect that could have. Positive leads to more positive and what is more positive then love.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Help Tegan Meet Ellen gets underway

Meeting Ellen Degeneres is a huge dream in itself, but for me it is part of a wider plan. This campaign is aimed towards my ultimate vision of a once in a lifetime trip, which for me this experience would be. My ambition comes out of the desire to have at least tried to achieve all my life ambitions while I still can. I say this because the health condition that I have, Muscular Dystrophy, is one which will continue to deteriorate over time. Without wanting to seem dramatic this fact has given a sense of urgency to many of my plans in the past year or so, whether this is a sub-conscious drive or just the impatience of a mid 20's young woman, I don't know. But I do know that over my life time it has generally paid off to trust my instincts.

So, I'm diving into this idea and making plans with all my efforts and energy, combined with those of the people nearest and dearest to me.

The outline of my ambitious dream is that all our efforts on facebook, twitter, and youtube, combined with the personal approach of a parcel that will be sent to Ellen will eventually convince her and her producers to scoop us up and take us to LA (Los Angeles) and present me and my supporters to Ellen. Ultimately, I would not only like to meet her and get to talk with her, but I would also love to be a guest on her show. I hope my efforts and what I have to say would encourage others to pursue their own goals and adventures. In particular, I hope this message will reach young people, especially those with disabilities, who may question the possibilities that their life may offer with the restrictions of their condition.

My own disability means that I require a significant amount of physical assistance and support with every aspect of my life. For this reason I will be traveling with four others, so that the work load of assisting me can be shared. I'm creating a backup plan of travel arrangements if this amazing campaign doesn't get the results I'm hoping for, as I'm still totally determined, no matter what, to get to LA for a holiday.

As with all travel there are complexities and costs involved. Due to my disability and health needs, the costs and planning needed are greater than the average traveler's requirements. The long flight means that there would be major strain on my breathing and comfort, as I usually would spend my day supported in a chair that allows me to shift and adjust my seat to give extra space for my breathing and muscle comfort. To allow for this I need to travel in business class, as I also need to access power outlets when I sleep, because I use a breathing support machine. The level of support I require means I would have to have one of my travel companions with me, meaning these two tickets would be more than four times the cost of two economy tickets. This doesn't include the other expenses, such as accessible transport and accommodation, which often charge at a higher rate because of their specialized service.

Despite these challenges I'm determined to go ahead and use my stubbornness optimism and creativity along with the combined efforts of my support network to overcome the obstacles and reach my ultimate ambition.

Life is for living, and to kick ass.