June 2017 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via eMail Share on LinkedIn

From the Editor

Read about kindness, natural music, a special tribute, reading suggestions, apps and websites. Our feature article encourages readers to explore kindness and comfort as a way to increase self-compassion and self-care. We share our enthusiasm for “Kindness Cards” a small movement of goodness spreading across the nation.

Cathy Kezelman honours Anthony Foster with a heartfelt tribute to his humanity and achievements for our community.

Sonja shares her beautiful poem in the My Story section – we welcome submissions from our readers, stories/poems and your stories are gratefully accepted. We share an app that can be downloaded onto your device – the natural sounds recorded in various locations are extraordinary.

Blue Knot Helpline counsellors and a Blue Knot Helpline caller share their thoughts on Bessel van der Kolk’s book, whilst he continues to lead research at the Trauma Centre (USA). 

Finally we are seeking your support as we raise funds to host the upcoming series of survivor workshops nationally and the News section will present some of the stories that we have been following this month.

If you have comments about what you have read in this issue or suggestions for future issues, please contact me at
newsletter@blueknot.org.au

Warm regards, 
Jane Macnaught | Editor



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SURVIVOR WORKSHOPS - 2017 APPEAL 

Help us spread the word

Adult Survivors of childhood trauma workshop - 2017 Fundraising Donation Appeal

During the month of June we are working towards raising $48,000 to fund educational workshops for adult survivors of childhood trauma across Australia.

Thanks to the generosity of the community, we have been able to reach our goal for the past two years and deliver life affirming workshops to survivors throughout the country. 

In 2017 the workshops remain unfunded and our aim right now is to secure funding for the Blue Knot Foundation Survivor Workshops to enable us to help adult survivors of childhood trauma in every state over the coming 12 months.

The support we received last year enabled us to run workshops that were described as “invaluable”, “a breath of fresh air”, and as supporting “a massive step of healing”…


“Today was brilliant. A massive step of healing taken. To be in a public space with this being talked about as if it were normal. I feel a bit more normal as a consequence. Because for so many of us these experiences have been our norm. It felt so good to finally fit in. My head has known there's many people out there like me. But to sit in a room with these people today, well, there's a little less shame now as I walk out.”

Donations make an enormous difference. Collectively every donation made during the Blue Knot Foundation End Of Year Appeal goes directly to the delivery of these workshops. 

To support the program you can make a general donation, sponsor a survivor to attend or sponsor an entire workshop. To learn more, click here: http://www.blueknot.org.au/Donate 

Please share with your networks.



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Cover story

A tribute to Anthony Foster – a true champion of righteousness

Chrissie and Anthony FosterThe untimely death of Anthony Foster spurned an unprecedented national outpouring of tributes. The Victorian Premier, The Hon Daniel Andrews MP hosted a State funeral in recognition of the selfless contribution Anthony made, day in and day out, to make Australia a safer place for children. 

Not often in life do everyday citizens inspire a nation. Anthony Foster was one such person. He and his wife, Chrissie were steadfast and forthright champions for justice for victims of child sexual abuse for decades. It was not only what the Fosters achieved but the manner in which they went about it – with grace and dignity, driven by what is fair and right, with a voice of reason and integrity.

Read full article at: http://www.blueknot.org.au/ABOUT-US/Media/Blog/ID/79/A-tribute-to-Anthony-Foster-a-true-champion-of-righteousness

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Seeking Kindness

By Breaking Free editor Jane Macnaught

Seeking kindness

When I experience kindness I feel so grateful. 

Small, simple acts can be unexpected, heart warming and show that someone cares – witnessing acts of kindness makes my heart sing. I invite you to consider where kindness exists in your world. This article discusses research on self-compassion and ideas on self-care, comfort and kindness.


“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.”
Aesop

Self-Compassion

What about offering yourself kindness - this can be as important as offering kindness to another person. Have you considered that having compassion for yourself might be as important as having compassion for others? 

Being kind to yourself builds self-compassion and a sense of wellbeing, and it takes little effort. However it does require a shift in your focus. Consider treating yourself with the same kindness, caring, and compassion you would show a good friend — or perhaps even a stranger.

If you have been finding the idea of self-compassion, self-love, or self-kindness a struggle – and we all do at times – then, may I suggest you make a start.


Start In This Moment: Now

What could you do in this moment to make yourself more comfortable - attend to micro tasks: fluff your pillow/cushion, pop another one under your arm, place a warm rug on your lap, move the chair, stretch your arms, turn on some soothing music, dim the lights, and place one hand on your chest/heart space. Consider your hand as a ‘healing hand’. As it rests on your chest you might like to notice your breath, perhaps this calms the mind for a few moments – spend a few minutes getting really comfortable. Could you prepare some comfort food – maybe a cup of tea, bowl of porridge, hot chocolate - what is your comfort snack? You might like to write a list of comforting foods and keep it handy for times when you might need a reminder to be kind to yourself.

How was this experience? If you were not able to join us in getting comfortable then I encourage you to set some moments aside later today and give it a try.

When we are consciously and mindfully making an effort to give comfort to ourselves we are being kind, it is an act of self-compassion and self-care and it may feel like self-love.

These concepts overlap, and one way to build self-compassion is by starting with providing yourself kindness and comfort. 


"…self-love transmutes self-hatred into mindfulness... and from mindfulness kindness flows.”
Danielle LaPorte

“The nurturing quality of self-compassion allows us to flourish”

says Kristin Neff, the pioneering self-compassion researcher, author and teacher.

www.self-compassion.org

Neff and her colleagues have conducted research over the past decade, the results show that “self-compassion is a powerful way to achieve emotional well-being and contentment in our lives, helping us avoid destructive patterns of fear, negativity, and isolation… The nurturing quality of self-compassion allows us to flourish, to appreciate the beauty and richness of life, even in hard times. When we soothe our agitated minds with self-compassion, we’re better able to notice what’s right as well as what’s wrong, so that we can orient ourselves toward that which gives us joy.”

Seeking kindness article

An Island of Calm

“Self-compassion provides an island of calm, 
a refuge from the stormy seas of endless positive & 
negative self-judgment, so that we can finally stop 
asking, ‘Am I as good as they are? Am I good enough?’ 
By tapping into our inner wellsprings of kindness, 
acknowledging the shared nature of our imperfect human condition, 
we can start to feel more secure, accepted, and alive.
It does take work to break the self-criticizing habits of a lifetime, 
but at the end of the day, you are only being asked to relax,
allow life to be as it is, and open your heart to yourself. 
It’s easier than you might think, and it could change your life.” 

Kristin Neff

Read a full article by Kristin Neff about the benefits of self-kindness.

I hope you find the time to offer yourself more moments of comfort and thereby developing kindness, self-care, and self-compassion. Please let us know your thoughts on this and any articles in Breaking Free.


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My Story – by Sonja

Cultural boundaries



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SELF-CARE RESOURCES

In this section, we review self-care/help resources our Blue Knot Helpline counselling team collects to share with people who call the Helpline. We are delighted to share these ideas with our Breaking Free readers. What is helpful for one person may not be right for someone else so please experiment, explore and find what suits you.

App suggestion from Blue Knot Helpline

Naturespace App

NaturespaceNature recorded in 3D

The producers of this app have been recording nature in 3D for over 10 years, and the quality and variety of sounds, music and recordings in their free downloadable app are wonderful.

Why 3D matters? From their website…

“Of the five human senses, only your hearing can tell you what is going on behind you. Although we live in a world that strongly emphasizes vision, we rely on sound to tell us about our environment and to (help us) gauge whether we are safe or not. We listen, both consciously and subconsciously, to the everyday sonic landscape to determine the safety of our surroundings. In the same way that we can detect potential danger with our sense of hearing, we can also hear its absence: peace.” The developers claim that by supplying your brain with extremely realistic, tranquil natural environmental sounds, free from the auditory chaos of urban life, you are more likely to feel relaxed.
“You do not need to "listen" to Naturespace (or apply any concentrated effort) to benefit from its effects - you simply need to hear it…
Because Naturespace sounds so real, your subconscious will respond with a feeling of relaxation regardless of whether you are paying attention to it or not. This frees up the creative parts of your brain, making Naturespace an amazing catalyst for creative and focused thought, all while easing mental tension.

Spatially accurate outdoor sound can have a profound effect on one's state of mind. For many, it becomes an integral part of a daily routine and a dependable source of solace.”
http://www.naturespace.org/about-naturespace

What we found…

A number of tracks are available in the free download. Alternatively you might like to explore the catalog to preview & download (for a small fee approx. $1.49) a multitude of serene sounds recorded in nature. I was transported into a beautiful dreamlike state after a few minutes of relaxing to the “Infinite Shoreline” sounds of gently crashing waves and watery splashes and a gentle breeze.

Try the “Natural White Noise” – useful when traffic or daytime sounds etc. need to be muffled. There are recordings of e.g. “Liquid Sunshine”, “Riverbank Trance” or “Soft Forest Rain”.

There are sections for De-Stress & Relax, Focus & Clarity, Meditations, Ambience for Sleeping and much more where you can access single tracks or Discount packages.

You can set the transitions Sleep Timer to play a track and then gently fade it out after a period of time or the Wake Timer will gently fade in a track that you choose to hear upon waking.

If you think that some natural sounds could add more peace and calm to your day, give this app a go. Download by searching “Naturespace – Relax Meditate Focus Sleep”.

Blue Knot Foundation makes every effort to provide readers of its website and newsletters with information which is accurate and helpful. It is not however a substitute for counselling or professional advice. While all attempts have been made to verify all information provided, Blue Knot Foundation cannot guarantee and does not assume any responsibility for currency, errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the information provided.


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Website suggestion from Blue Knot Helpline

Kindness cards

Have you seen kindness cards? You can order some from the Wake Up Project – no cost. With a set of kindness cards you are encouraged and motivated to think about what you can do for another person (neighbour, colleague, stranger). Anonymously deliver on your act of kindness (flowers, card, coffee, etc.) and leave a kindness card on the person’s doorstep/desk etc. The card asks them to ‘pay it forward’ and repeat the game with someone else.
If you are struggling to find kindness in your life you may enjoy some inspiration from stories and ideas at the website below, and order some cards whilst you are there.
http://wakeupproject.com.au/kindness-cards/

Blue Knot Foundation makes every effort to provide readers of its website and newsletters with information which is accurate and helpful. It is not however a substitute for counselling or professional advice. While all attempts have been made to verify all information provided, Blue Knot Foundation cannot guarantee and does not assume any responsibility for currency, errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the information provided.


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Book suggestion from Blue Knot Helpline

The Body Keeps the Score

Blue Knot Helpline telephone counsellors have a list of books to which they refer and sometimes suggest to callers. The Body Keeps The Score - Mind, Brain and Body in The Transformation of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk is the one of the more frequently recommended books.

Why is this so?

Counsellors feel that many callers will benefit from reading in depth about the effects of trauma and pathways to recovery. van der Kolk is a great storyteller, and a compassionate thinker: the book is interesting to read and absolutely fascinating.

He is an active clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of complex posttraumatic stress and trauma and devotes much of his life to studying, writing and working with clients in the Trauma Centre in Boston USA.

van der Kolk integrates neuroscience with his clinical research and wisdom from other disciplines, to communicate and invoke greater understanding about the long-term effects of trauma for people who have experienced it.

This book was one of the first to transform our understanding of trauma and explains how childhood trauma shapes the wiring and structure of the brain. He explains how innovative treatment approaches including body work, neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play, yoga, EMDR and other therapies can help to reactivate the wiring. His research has shown many treatments can be effective in treating trauma in addition to talk therapies.

Helpline Caller Feedback:

One Blue Knot Helpline user contacted us recently to share her enthusiasm for The Body Keeps The Score. She is telling everyone she meets to read van der Kolk’s book - friends, doctors, nurses… She believes this book is a “must read” providing a good, simple, clear understanding of what happens to people who experienced childhood trauma and now, like her, have complex PTSD or post traumatic stress. She likes the way the author links what he is finding in his research to real situations.

“It was so easy to read, I couldn’t put the book down. But you don’t need a degree to understand what he is saying. I never realized how the mind and the body are so connected – now I feel like I understand what is going on for me - I’m starting to piece it all together. 

So when I get triggered, I now notice that I also feel it in my body – I wasn’t aware of that before. I never realized stuff that happens is not just remembered in the brain, it is also remembered in the body.”

Bessel van der Kolk has written several books and journal articles and you can find podcasts, recordings and videos on line with interviews and talks on this book and related topics: http://www.traumacenter.org/.  


Blue Knot Foundation makes every effort to provide readers of its website and newsletters with information which is accurate and helpful. It is not however a substitute for counselling or professional advice. While all attempts have been made to verify all information provided, Blue Knot Foundation cannot guarantee and does not assume any responsibility for currency, errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the information provided.


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IN THE NEWS

Bathurst's St Stanislaus College confronted by former student

A FORMER Newcastle journalist and St Stanislaus College, Bathurst Old Boy, whose endorsement of the college led to a friend’s son being sexually assaulted, will lead a silent vigil on Friday as the college holds a controversial apology service.

Terry Jones said he would never get over the pain of knowing his recommendation led to a boy being sexually assaulted by notorious St Stanislaus chaplain Brian Spillane. It has driven Mr Jones’ campaign to have the Vincentian Catholic order and the college acknowledge the full extent of crimes committed by its representatives.

“People in Bathurst did not believe, and many still won’t believe, these things happened, and so the college sits up there on top of the hill looking over the city, still trying to control things,” Mr Jones said.

Read full article at: 
http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4730183/old-boy-to-lead-silent-vigil/

 

 


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‘Keeping children safety is paramount’

Catholic schools have been ordered to stop hearing childrens' confessions behind closed doors, as Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart responds to new child safety rules. 

In a directive issued in November last year, Archbishop Hart asked Catholic school principals and parish priests to conduct confessions "in an open setting in the full view of all participants, who are supervised by staff".
Catholic schools have been ordered to stop hearing childrens' confessions behind closed doors, as Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart responds to new child safety rules. 

In a directive issued in November last year, Archbishop Hart asked Catholic school principals and parish priests to conduct confessions "in an open setting in the full view of all participants, who are supervised by staff".

Read full article at: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/priest-bucks-archbishops-order-to-hear-school-kids-confessions-out-of-the-box-20170607-gwm583.html

 


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Anthony Foster paid the ultimate price in pursuit of justice

Tributes are pouring in for Anthony Foster who became a tireless and high-profile advocate for child sexual abuse victims after his daughters were raped by a priest. 

Mr Foster, 64, died after suffering a stroke on Friday evening. 

He rose to national prominence after he publicly accused Cardinal George Pell of stalling the family's compensation claim against the Catholic Church when he was archbishop of Melbourne.

It is believed Mr Foster fell and hit his head before suffering a major stroke.  He died with his wife Chrissie by his side. 

Two of the Fosters' daughters, Emma and Katie, were repeatedly raped by disgraced Melbourne priest Kevin O'Donnell while pupils at a primary school in Melbourne's Oakleigh parish.

Read full article at: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/father-of-abuse-victims-anthony-foster-dies-20170526-gweeff.html

 


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Gallery's bizarre plan to auction off 'horrific' child sex scene painted by notorious confessed paedophile

An art gallery in Sydney's exclusive eastern suburbs had planned to sell off a 'horrific' child sex scene painted by a notorious Australian paedophile.
The artwork, which appears to show two young boys pleasuring an adult man, was due to be auctioned off on Wednesday at Mossgreen auction house, in Woollahra.
The artwork was painted by Donald Friend, an Australian man who boasted about making love with boys as young as nine while living in Bali and Sri Lanka.

Friend died in 1989, aged 74, but never paid for his sickening crimes. In fact, his perverted sexual fascinations only came to light after his diaries were published posthumously - on his own instruction - by the National Library of Australia in 2001.

Read full article at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4564258/Sydney-art-gallery-s-plan-auction-Donald-Friend-artwork.html

 


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Keeping children safe is everybody’s business

ONE drunk man. One sleazy thought. One wandering hand. That’s all it took to fracture a part of me that harboured trust for others.

It happened at a house I’d frequent as a child, a place I truly felt safe. Not my home but that of an older woman who was funny, generous and extremely kind.

Read full article at: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/we-must-encourage-children-to-speak-up-about-uncomfortable-touching/news-story/c841d74777f4b36187b6e3a3807d32f4


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Tributes to Anthony Foster - a champion for truth, justice and integrity

THE Blue Knot Foundation has paid tribute to Anthony Foster – who championed the Newcastle Herald’s campaign for a child abuse royal commission – on the eve of his state funeral in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The head of the foundation for child abuse survivors, Dr Cathy Kezelman, said Mr Foster’s sudden death on May 27, aged 64, had devastated all who came to know him and wife Chrissie, as “steadfast and forthright champions for justice, truth and integrity”.

“Not often in life do you meet human beings who truly inspire,” Dr Kezelman said on Sunday. 

“Anthony Foster was one such person.”

Mr and Mrs Foster first challenged the Catholic Church in the 1990s after the devastating discovery that two of their three daughters, Emma and Katie, had been sexually assaulted by a notorious Catholic priest when they were aged 5 and 6.

Emma committed suicide and Katie was left with profound disabilities after she was hit by a car while binge drinking.

“Chrissie and Anthony did not choose to be champions for survivors,” Dr Kezelman said.

Read full article at: http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4706322/a-champion-for-truth-justice-and-integrity/

 


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Disclaimer - Blue Knot Foundation makes every effort to provide readers of its website and newsletters with information which is accurate and helpful. It is not however a substitute for counselling or professional advice. While all attempts have been made to verify all information provided, Blue Knot Foundation cannot guarantee and does not assume any responsibility for currency, errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the information provided.