Grief

I hope so.

I hope so. Drawing Luke Hockley.

I hope so. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Do I have the courage to deal with the things that I would like to deal with?

The things that no one else can see.

Can I love and care for and believe in myself enough to take the time and space to heal myself?

I hope so.

I really do.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,195

Show your support for Dear Self by becoming a monthly supporter of my work or by buying some stamp money. Your support means I can keep doing the things I do to make the world a better place.

Responsibility.

Responsibility. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Responsibility. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I am responsible.

As much as I might like to transfer that responsibility to someone else, I can’t.

That wouldn’t be fair.

I am responsible.

That’s all there is to it.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,044

The boatman’s call.

The boatman’s call. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The boatman’s call. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Over the last few months I have been on an odyssey.

Alone on a boat witnessing the magnificent and the unspeakable.

I’ve had radio contact with the world.

But getting the boat back to shore has been my sole responsibility.

I chose this sea voyage, I wanted to take it and feel proud of myself for making it home again.

On the voyage I have met many incredible women who are navigating their boats with such skill, I’m in awe.

Taking this voyage has been uncomfortable, risky and sometimes has even felt dangerous. So, why did I want to do this?

I thought it might help change something that needs to be changed.

I thought, maybe, that other men would be inspired to get in a boat and join me. Men who really need to step off the safety of shore and experience the world from the perspective of the wild and untamed ocean.

When I was at sea I did my best not to ask the women I saw to take responsibility for me. But I saw them help each other, in a way that I’ve not really been helped by men in my life.

And I realised why it was important for me to get back to shore.

To ask men to help each other have the emotional strength to get in their boats and sail with me.

Last night a small group of men answered my call. That, in their own ways, they have been venturing out into the ocean too.

Now I’ve got more than radio contact, I can see them on the ocean with me and I know, if I need them, they will be on the ship with me, helping us get safely back to shore.

And, for me, when I experienced this, the healing began.

Love

Luke.

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Day 1,043

Darkness and joy.

Darkness and Joy. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Darkness and Joy. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

The dark murky mush of human complexness is sitting with me on the couch today.

That’s ok.

It is not nice, but it is a fact.

We are messy. Things are not simple.

I’m ok to sit here with it for a while.

But it can’t stay. Not all day.

Today I invite some of the joy to sit with me as well.

That’s where we are today.

Darkness and Joy.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,035

Epic.

Epic. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Epic. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I saw a dance piece last night called Colossus. Choreographed by Stephanie Lake as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival at The Arts Centre.

It was epic.

50 dancers on stage. Pulsing, throbbing, flocking. Unison and chaos.

En masse like that, the human form transforms itself. It suddenly becomes alien, or rather, it reveals itself as animal.

The work is a beautiful reflection of this moment. The joy and terrifying power of humans forming and breaking apart and reforming in tribes. Both live and virtually.

Most of the work reflected the magic that people create through intense cooperation. At one moment the group turns on one of its own. Singles them out.

Victim and hoard.

It was chilling. Frighteningly real. It triggered my experiences of having groups of people turn on me. It reminded me of how vulnerable I am to being abandoned by my village. How the invisible threads of support and trust keep each of us safe. For a moment I was that isolated human under attack. It was extremely uncomfortable.

Eventually this lone figure is delicately folded back into the group. This confused me. I accepted it, it seemed real…but is that it? Is there no retribution for the mass hysteria? No self-reflection from the group on its irrational seething anger? Why is their violence unpunished?

It was like the fog of irrational hatred cleared and it never happened.

It’s not right. How can they get away with this?

It may not be right...but it is sadly accurate. The victim gets chewed up and spat out on our social platforms…and then rapidly forgotten. We don’t see our own behaviour, our own hysteria, as part of the problem. It just happens for a moment and then it is gone. Like it never happened. The entertainment of it all finished so we move on, absolved of any responsibility for it all. The victim lucky if they are embraced back into the community.

These reflections are intensely uncomfortable. I don’t like how they make me feel. Don’t like that I see that I am a part of all that.

I much prefer the feeling I had when I watched the group in complex and profound cooperation. Which is where they were for the majority of the performance.

It was like watching a scene from a nature documentary. Calming. The natural world in harmony.

Colossus did that thing where performance morphs beyond entertainment into sense making. It helped me see something about myself and the worlds I inhabit.

Even though I was unsettled by some of what it had to say I am pleased that I live in a culture that gave space for this voice.

I feel richer this morning for that experience.

Filled.

Love.

Luke.

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Day 1,026

Stamp Money.
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Buying some stamp money is a way to say thanks. A way to show your love and appreciation for the things I make and share.

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Too much.

Too much. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Too much. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Sometimes being a human is too much.

There is too much darkness. Too much shame and hurt.

Too much damage done.

Too much injustice and abuse.

I don’t know what to do with it all.

Luke

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Day 1,024

Anger.

Anger. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Anger. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Yesterday I felt angry.

Anger is an emotion I’ve been told is not healthy for me.

I was talking with one of my best friends yesterday about something that really mattered to me.

I felt this anger.

Not at my friend, but at men in general.

At injustice and privilege and entitlement. At assumptions about whose job it is to take care of people (Yes, I understand that I am a man, that I was partly angry at myself).

I nearly skipped over it. I nearly closed it down.

But because my mate is so awesome I didn’t.

I stopped for a moment and listened to it.

I felt angry.

And then, I was able to articulate more clearly (after a bit of inarticulate rambling) what was so upsetting to me about the way some men behave.

It was a relief.

I realised that this feeling I sometimes get that is cold and nothing and blank is an anger at how men have treated me. A wall I have put up to stop them being able to hurt me.

Once upon a time I was too little to be able to stand up properly to the injustice of it all.

So, I shut down.

Men are being entitled, privileged shits all the time. Worse still, they mostly don’t see that they are acting in these ways, they don’t see their great privilege. They can feel hurt and offended and upset when it is pointed out. They ask for it to be done in a kinder, gentler way. They ask the people they have oppressed (unconsciously or not) to make it easier for them not to oppress them anymore.

Are you fucking serious?

And I only know this because, even though I am a man, I committed some crimes against masculinity.

I was a creative child. I liked to sew, climb trees, draw, build fires, swim, knit, swing on the monkey bars, wear dresses, do cartwheels, run, read, dance, act and sing.

Some of these things were acceptable to the people around me and some were not. Those 'unacceptable things' were my crimes, my misdemeanours against the norms of being a man.

And some people let me know, very clearly, that this made me less.

And, because I have all the privileges that come with being a man, I don’t even see the half of it. Women have put up with so much worse than I can imagine.

I’m not little anymore.

And I’m angry.

I realised, whilst talking to my friend, that I wasn’t angry with men for their past behaviour. I realised I was angry that many of them are still not listening. I am angry at not being heard now, today, here, by men who still carry all the benefits and privileges that they acquire at the expense of others.

It felt right to have my male friend listen, really listen, to me.

I felt heard.

And I realised that, as a man, it’s time for me to listen.

Love

Luke

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Day 980

Riot.

Riot. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Riot. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Last night we watched a tele-movie on the ABC called Riot.

It is the story of the first Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade held in Sydney.

I couldn’t believe the police brutality, I couldn’t believe how Australian’s condoned prejudice against people they knew, I couldn’t believe the laws that enabled all of this.

I was 2 years old when the first parade happened.

I grew up in this nasty soup. My sense of self was forged with this as a silent, unseen, poisonous background.

In my lifetime so much has changed.

I think I felt the depth of all this when marriage equality became law last year. I realised that I had been living as a second-class person and had completely accepted that…because that’s the way it always was.

We are not there yet.

How men and women view the roles of people with different genders and sexual orientations is the problem.

Watching this film, I felt the power of group action.

I felt emboldened to speak up.

To act out.

To use my voice.

To shake off my passive, comfortable life and say and do things that matter.

Rock the boat.

I’m scared.

But not nearly as frightened as someone who was detained and bashed by the police in 1978 for walking in a legally approved street march.

Forty years later the police march in the Mardi Gras parade. All because men and women were prepared to risk their lives to stand up for what was right.

So, I think I can say and do things that matter.

I think that is the least I can do to say thank you to the people who successfully fought for my right to be me.

The least I can do.

Love

Luke

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Day 954

Stamp Money.
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Buying some stamp money is a way to say thanks. A way to show your love and appreciation for the things I make and share.

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The future is unwritten.

The future is unwritten. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The future is unwritten. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Here I am, once again, on the other side of the Future Makers communication retreat.

I’ve got all the things. I’ve got a deep well of belonging, I’ve got a cold (only a very, very small light handed one – which I’m totally calling a successful outcome given that previously I have barely been able to make it from the car to my bed at the end of previous retreats), I’ve got joy and hope for the future, I’ve got new ideas and ways of seeing things, I’ve got a bunch of beautiful photos and memories and I’ve gathered another group of friends and future makers that will be with me on this very uncertain journey into the unknown.

This year something is different.

I also have sadness.

An unspeakable sadness.

This retreat was the last ever communications retreat that will be run by the Centre for Sustainable Leadership. The organisation has decided to close down. This year will be the last Future Makers Fellowship.

It has been difficult to keep this organisation afloat.

I’ve seen the struggle, the hours of unpaid labour, the passion and commitment to make it work.

And it’s sad because it’s not like we don’t need the program, not like we don’t need leadership, not like we don’t need those leaders to help us to write the future of our species on this planet for the sake of all living things…

The need is greater than ever.

Philanthropists and governments and businesses used to agree that investing in this collective action was worth it. So, they would subsidise the cost of doing the course by giving the organisation money.

Then something changed.

A new expectation emerged that everything should be able to run as a social enterprise, everything should be able to fund itself…

This sounds reasonable on the surface.

I can’t quite put my finger on it…but something about expecting a capitalist model to fix the devastation and destruction that capitalism has reaped upon our ecosystem…it feels like the virus trying to heal the body.

I suppose I feel sad that we had a moment where the zeitgeist was “We need to collectively address these issues” and so we all, individuals, governments and businesses, invested in something that truly changed the story (just look at the 700 plus alumni who are now leading themselves, their communities and their organisations towards healthier relationships with each other, the economy and the planet that sustains us)… and now we don’t seem to have that collective agreement anymore.

Now we are saying “Well if you want to change the world you can pay for it yourself”. Which seems mean, and naïve, and foolhardy and like the true embodiment of cutting your nose off to spite your face.

But that’s where we are.

My experience with grief is that it is long and slow and complex and unexpected. That it will play out in many ways over the coming months and years.

I’ve had some time to sit with all of this. Enough time to accept, in some way, that the Centre for Sustainability Leadership is ready to let go. To appreciate and love the people who nurtured and cared for it, who fought for it in a system that didn’t want to listen.

Enough time to understand that its time has come. That this magic, beautiful thing, as we know it, is over.

But time is an interesting thing.

Because I’ve also had enough time to know that it’s not over yet.

Maybe my beloved CSL’s job was to launch the first wave of change makers into the world. To give them confidence and certainty, passion and compassion, clarity and voice, skills and knowledge.

To give them each other.

To weave them deeply into the fabric of the system they are going to change and then give them a clean slate to invent the next chapter.

Whenever I am truly lost I always check in with my mate Matt Wicking. At some point when we were talking about all this he said Luke…

“The future is unwritten. So, let’s go and write it.”

I’ll take my time to be sad. To feel the loss of this. Those feelings can’t be rushed.

Then, when I’m ready, I’m going to call my mates and start writing the next chapter.

Love.

Luke

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Day 905

Stamp Money.
from 1.00

Buying some stamp money is a way to say thanks. A way to show your love and appreciation for the things I make and share.

How much?:
Quantity:
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I am lost.

I am lost. Drawing Luke Hockley.

I am lost. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Autumn is here.

The dwindling of warm days retreating into cool, grey rain.

I’m very sad.

I am lost.

I don’t know how to hold my grief when it has been forgotten. When the world around me thinks it is in the past.

I don’t understand myself.

I don’t feel like I have the right to be sad, lonely, unhappy.

But I am.

Luke.

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Day 826