Watch this space

The GroundSwell Project is  almost 4, can you believe it?

Over the past 4 years we’ve shared projects, resources and information and we’ve blogged almost 200 times!

This website, was always designed to just help us start up and to get things moving, but we got so busy that we never had time to change it!

Until now! Our new website is coming….

So watch this space!

1

365 Days of a GroundSwell

Groundswell-FB-Cover-4

 

 

The GroundSwell Project AGM was held on November 19th 2013 and it is with great pleasure that we present to you our Annual Report for the 2012-13 financial year.

Many thanks to all of you, here in Australia and from across the globe, for supporting our work and cheering us on. It keeps on being said, but death does seem to be having a moment, and we are delighted that the GroundSwell Project is making a significant contribution to this conversation here in Australia.

Highlights in 2012-13 include:

  • FilmLife Project is creating vital awareness about organ and tissue donation in the Australian community by using film, blogging and social media. Now in our second year check out the films here.
  • Our annual Drama project at Penrith High School and the upcoming documentary by Jordan Bryon about the learning that occurs when young people tackle the topic of “living with mortality” and share their observations on the stage.
  • The opportunity to work with many  fabulous organisations a few include DonateLife, Nepean Intensive Care Unit, Information and Cultural Exchange, Footscray Community Arts Centre, Penrith High School, and Rookwood Cemetery.
  • Presenting a workshop about our work at the 3rd International Public Health and Palliative Care Conference in Ireland in April.
  • our launch of Dying To Know Day! A day all Australians can take action toward more open and honest conversations about death, dying and bereavement.

What a year!

We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that The GroundSwell Project is a registered health promotion charity. We need your support to grow and develop, so please consider a tax deductible donation via the fundraising platform GiveNow. You can make a one off or regular donation.

And finally, with the holiday season coming, one of the most precious gifts you can give your family is to share your end-of-life wishes. Do you want to be an organ donor? Do you have a Will?  An advance care directive? Whatever the topic, we would encourage you to start-up that conversation today.

See you in the new year,

Warm Regards

Kerrie Noonan,
CoFounder and Chair
on behalf of the The GroundSwell Project Board

 

Death Cafe Blue Mountains guest post by Bianca Nogrady

It began with a book, and ended with a poem.IMG_5417

The first official Blue Mountains Death Cafe was true to the Blue Mountains style. There was fantastic locally-baked cake, a stunning backdrop of World Heritage wilderness, and twenty people who had come to talk about death.

I think we were all encouraged and perhaps a little surprised at how easily the conversation flowed up and down the long table, which was beautifully set with white linen and heirloom silverware, courtesy of the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre’s Lis Bastian.

The cafe was co-hosted by Kerrie Noonan, founder of the Groundswell Project and Dying to Know Day, and author Bianca Nogrady.

We began the cafe with a reading from Bianca Nogrady’s book The End: The Human Experience of Death. From there, we weren’t quite sure how things would progress but one by one, members of the cafe took up the baton and told of their own experiences, concerns, questions and thoughts.

People shared some amazing experiences, including one lady who had had a near-death experience in her early 30s and told of how it had changed her life forever.

The conversation also wandered into the realm of after-death, with discussion of funerals, burial choices and what people thought about for their own wakes.

There was also discussion of end-of-life choices, and how to ensure that your wishes are at least heard, if not respected and followed.

As we wrapped up the day with a sense of quiet achievement, one lady stood and offered us all a poem in farewell – Stages by Herman Hesse – which she recited by heart:

 

As every flower fades and as all youth

Departs, so life at every stage,

So every virtue, so our grasp of truth,

Blooms in its day and may not last forever.

Since life may summon us at every age

Be ready, heart, for parting, new endeavor,

Be ready bravely and without remorse

To find new light that old ties cannot give.

In all beginnings dwells a magic force

For guarding us and helping us to live.

Serenely let us move to distant places

And let no sentiments of home detain us.

 

The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us

But lifts us stage by stage to wider spaces.

If we accept a home of our own making,

Familiar habit makes for indolence.

We must prepare for parting and leave-taking

Or else remain the slave of permanence.

Even the hour of our death may send

Us speeding on to fresh and newer spaces,

And life may summon us to newer races.

So be it, heart: bid farewell without end.

IMG_5416

IMG_5420

Tweeting Death – another in our occasional series, Writing Death

© 2013 Peta MurrayIn these posts we  usually direct you to interesting pieces of personal writing about death and dying, but here’ s a story with a twist. Or rather a tweet. When this story broke in America it caused considerable controversy that soon spread, with many people having very firm views about Scott Simon’s actions. This follow-up post by Meghan O’Rourke elaborates.

What are your thoughts about Tweeting Death?

 

Peta Murray is a co-founder of The GroundSwell Project. She is a writer, researcher, community artist and teacher. Her short fiction has been published in Sleepers Almanac and New Australian Stories. Her best-known plays are Wallflowering and Salt. She is currently working on an extravaganza for performance called Things That Fall Over: an anti-musical of a novel inside a reading of a play, with footnotes, and oratorio-as-coda.

You can read about TTFO at: http://thingsthatfallover.wordpress.com

The occasional series, “Writing Death’ is an ongoing project to source and share well-written and personal stories about death and dying.

“We create rituals and grow new parts” – another in our occasional series, Writing Death

© Photo by Peta MurrayIn this episode in our series, Writing Death, we direct you to this extended and candid essay by journalist, Elizabeth Wyndham.

This piece, recently published in The Age, is from a forthcoming anthology, My Mother, My Father featuring pieces by eminent Australian writers including Helen Garner and Caroline Baum. One to look out for.

 

Peta Murray is a co-founder of The GroundSwell Project. She is a writer, researcher, community artist and teacher. Her short fiction has been published in Sleepers Almanac and New Australian Stories. Her best-known plays are Wallflowering and Salt. She is currently working on an extravaganza for performance called Things That Fall Over: an anti-musical of a novel inside a reading of a play, with footnotes, and oratorio-as-coda.

You can read about TTFO at: http://thingsthatfallover.wordpress.com

The occasional series, “Writing Death’ is an ongoing project to source and share well-written and personal stories about death and dying.