I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank Judy Atkinson, Don Coyhis and Marion Kickett for inspiring me into this field. My journey has only just begun, but it’s already been stimulating and enjoyable… and challenging. No doubt there are many challenges ahead, but we’ll take them in our stride.
It’s strange, but I feel that I was meant to spend time in neuroscience research and in the addiction/mental health recovery field before finding what I was always meant to do. It’s like my past careers were ‘preparation’ for my Sharing Culture career.
I’d like to thank Michael Scott and my Sharing Culture colleague Michael Liu for all their support and discussions this year. Thank you to Carlie Atkinson, Tim Carey, Zohl de Ishtar, Judith Landau and Dave Walker for their support and ‘virtual’ chats during the past months.
I’ve made many more friends in the past year and a number of these people have really inspired me - they may not know that! I look forward to some exciting future collaborations.
Thanks also to John Cusack, Karen Hume and Ann Oakley-Hawke, who have helped my to begin to understand a different culture to my own. I’ve a long, long way to go in that regard, but I am humbled to be on this journey.
A special thanks to my beautiful partner Linda for all her love and support… and for listening to me when I ‘go off on one’. And to my lovely children Annalie, Ben, Natasha and Sam. Thank you for your support and belief. I’m very proud of each of you and I miss you terribly. Finally, thanks to my stepdaughter Sophie, who brings joy and beautiful smiles to our house.
I’d like to end with some words of wisdom from Native American Don Coyhis, who developed the Wellbriety Movement:
“Suppose you have 100 acres full of sick trees who want to get well. If each sick tree leaves the forest to find wellness and then returns to the forest, they get sick again from the infection of the rest of the trees. The Elders taught us that to treat the sick trees you must treat the whole forest - you must create a healing forest. If not, the trees will just keep getting sick again.
The community forests are now filled with alcoholic trees, drug-addicted trees, co-dependency trees, domestic violence trees, and trees with mental issues. The soil in which those trees are growing is missing the ceremonies, the songs, the stories, the language, and the wisdom of our Elders. When we lost these things, we no longer knew who we were and we were left with anger, guilt, shame, and fear. These were the understandings that the Elders communicated in the early days of the Wellbriety Movement.
And when they gave us that model, we detected for the first time these laws that we needed to guide us, and they told us we would have to test them to make sure they were dependable. They gave us knowledge of the old ways, telling us we couldn’t just jump in there and do it any way, that we had to follow the natural order.
They said all the harmony of the natural order will come back when we follow the natural order. The whole universe runs together so you have to work with it. So all my corporate training meant nothing. It had hardly any value. The Elders gave us an alternative way to work with our communities."