Inspiration, Inspiration, Wherefore Art Thou …

inspiration
Inspiration; defined as something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create¹. Some days it just doesn’t want to be found and on others it can come from the most miniscule thought, word or deed. The middle of the night is always a productive time for inspirational thoughts but remembering them in the morning, or being game enough to action them, often makes you think the sleep would have been more beneficial.lightbulb

I’d been pondering the recent events in my life and whether I would choose just one for this blog or try to incorporate the elements from all of them that I wanted to write about, but an idea of how to connect them, remained elusive. As fate (or luck) would have it I happened to be involved in a conversation where others were verbalising their thoughts on frequently being plagued by a lack of inspiration and as is often the case, one comment lit the proverbial light-bulb. So here we go: a blog about things that I’ve found inspiring over the last week.

Bush ingenuity: Whether it’s manufacturing a machinery part from scrap or (most recently) repairing a “plugger” with toothpick and ring-pull, combining necessity and imagination to create an alternate solution for the problem at hand, is always inspiring. The ability to use the tools and equipment that may be available for even a temporary fix to the immediate problem is a skill fast disappearing in our “throw-away” world where almost anything is available for purchase 24/7. Living where we do (i.e. no shops close by, let alone 24/7 ones) I frequently see Jeff and the boys create something out of nothing and I’ve been so impressed over the years that it’s also inspired me to test my own bush skills occasionally.
Pictofigo_FriendshipThe bonds of friendship: I spent the weekend with four girlfriends, all of whom I have known for over thirty years. We shared all sorts of experiences in our early twenties when life was less complicated and the body more agile but over time we gradually drifted away to lead new and more complex lives in different places with husbands, children, work, study and a thousand other things that occupy the time of busy women and mothers. During those years we maintained some minimal contact but generally were not overly involved in each-other’s lives and rarely saw each other.

Several years ago we juggled diaries and eventually organised a get-together that was so fantastic we have duplicated it several times since. We are all still busy people but it is inspiring to realise that each time we meet our friendships are strengthened, not by the quantity of time we spend together, but the quality of the limited time we know we have and (as one of the girls messaged on Tuesday) validates why we became friends in the first place. It reinforces the notion that true friends do not have to physically share each-other’s lives to remain connected and comforting to know they will always be “there”.

Leading by example: I am in Hobart this week for a meeting between State and Territory Presidents and the Executive of CWA of Australia to help set the direction of the National body for the coming year. It is always inspiring to work with peers who are equally committed to not only furthering the objectives of The Country Women’s Association, but growing the organisation in ways that will enhance the impact of the work we do.

The CWA is evolving and has its sights set firmly on the future to ensure support and advocacy continues for women, their families and communities, particularly those in rural and remote areas of the country.

So there you have it; my different forms of inspiration and where I found them.

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If you have trouble locating yours perhaps the response to my online query for inspirational quotes will help. It is from Eleanor Roosevelt, who apparently once said “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Food for thought …

¹Merriam-Webster

Creating Change

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The CWA of NSW State Executive Committee is meeting this week to deliberate the business of the Association and make the decisions that are necessary for the management and future of our organisation. As usual it is a busy week so I’ll be brief (if that’s possible!)

Representatives from across the state and from all walks of life come together for business during the day and as with any gathering be they male, female or both, some socialising into the evening.

I envisage any (CWA) husband reading this will be rolling his eyes and chortling to himself as he calculates the decibel level of 39 women in a confined space, who have only been able to use a small percentage of their 2,000 word allowance for the day. He will imagine them all talking at once whilst appearing to listen which, in our minds is multi-tasking! He might also be a little concerned about what the balance owing on the next credit card bill might be – don’t worry on my watch they’re too busy to indulge in any retail therapy. No responsibility accepted though for trips from and to home.

Getting back to the point I want to make about the social part of this week. Its function is not to gossip and partake of too many drinks, it’s about sharing stories, building trust and camaraderie so that expressing an opinion during debates, which may differ from your peers, does not mean ostracism at the end of the day.

Similarly the business sessions are an indirect avenue to encourage and foster new skills, build confidence, capacity and expression that often empower women, who otherwise might not feel confident enough, to use those new found talents in other activities in their communities.

For the small percentage of members who will have the privilege and opportunity to serve at this level it also provides the chance to make contacts all over the state and often results in lifelong friendships being formed. So not only are we getting the business done, we are up skilling at the same time; multi-tasking again!

On a completely different subject I have one comment that has been bouncing around in my head since the start of the week and this provides an opportunity to set if free; when my boys were growing up I always thought Ian Thorpe was such a fantastic role model for them … I still do.

Marion’s Memories

2014 May Marion EmmottGroup Tours afford me the opportunity to meet many wonderful members who work tirelessly for our Country Women’s Association. Work that not only enriches the fabric of their communities but also engenders personal well-being, camaraderie and a sense of fulfillment from honest and shared effort, which benefits everyone.

I met Marion Emmott whilst touring the Far South Coast Group and shared morning tea with the members of Bodalla Branch. Marion’s comment about not remembering a time when she did not want to attend a meeting stayed in my thoughts and so I asked if she would relate her story for you.

Marion is the sole carer for her husband who turned 100 the day before my visit in early March, so she had arranged some respite and was ‘playing hooky’ for the morning.

My thanks to Branch President Colleen Constable who recorded Marion’s words and forwarded them to me with the following comment; “Marion turned 91 on 23rd March 2014; I think I also mentioned to you Marion embraces all new members with such warmth and enthusiasm and continues to praise and encourage all of us – just a beautiful lady.”

Below Marion’s reflection on her time with CWA:

 “For over 60 years the Country Women’s Association has been very much part of my life. Coming from the city of Goulburn to the then very small village of Bodalla, I was delighted to be invited to the local branch of CWA. Thinking this would be a way to make new friends, I was not disappointed. The welcome I received was so warm and everyone was so friendly I decided to become a member. I was soon involved in all aspects of CWA, I can truthfully say I do not recall a time when I did not want to attend a meeting. I have made some wonderful friends through CWA and have so many happy memories.

The offices I have held in our branch have meant a great deal to me I have always enjoyed Group Council meetings and Group and State Conferences as well as fulfilling the aims and objectives of CWA. Bodalla branch has always been very active and I look back on my long membership with much pleasure, the highlights of which were receiving the branch’s first Life Membership in 1987 and proudly accepting the position of Group Patron in 2011.

I have complete confidence that CWA in Bodalla will continue with Pride in our past, faith in our future”.

Marion Emmott 2014