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Moira Darling, Australia (English)

Chris and me at the AVP – International Gathering in Ireland 2014.

My name is Moira Darling and I am married to Chris Hughes and live in Kyneton, Australia. I was surprised to realise that September next year will mark a time when I have lived in this house the longest of any place since I left home at 18. I was born in 1960 in a small country town in Victoria Australia. After living for a few decades in Melbourne I am now back in a small country town in Kyneton where I really enjoy the quietness and spaciousness. Chris and I are pictured to the left at the AVP – International Gathering in Ireland 2014.

My daily life is hectic. I work 3 days in a women’s information and referral centre in Melbourne. It is a long commute to get to work (almost 2hrs each way) and the work is very demanding, although it teaches me a lot. Most of my work is about valuing women’s experience and capacities and creating a safe space for them to be in. I was definitely called into the position and having been there for 18 months, feel I am being called out of it and onto something new. I am also engaged in Quaker life and with Chris, host a monthly Meeting for Worship at our home. I have an active interest in healing which I have explored as a naturopath and kinesiologist and through Quaker worship and practice. I am hoping to work more in kinesiology in the future and I am being called into a greater involvement with Quaker healing. I have a strong desire to be engaged locally and am part of the local Transition Town movement, maintaining the minutes of our meetings and contributing to the decision making as we build our capacities locally.

The things that help to keep me grounded are gardening, my lovely husband and my Quaker faith and practice. I am an experimental gardener with a great desire to grow food (giant silverbeet going to seed on the right). I am learning that this is not so easy, especially in a cold climate with a short but hot and dry growing season. The challenge of growing has then been followed by the challenge of knowing when to harvest and what to do with the excess produce (I don’t always feel like eating silverbeet). In between times I like to make patchwork quilts and enjoy the mistakes that make each of these a unique expression of the moment.

I have experienced the impact of depression and trauma and the fracturing of personal relationships that has resulted from this. I have dealt with this by exploring healing options, nonviolence and interpersonal skills training and spiritual practice so that I can meet conflict in a different way. I have been involved with the AVP program as a participant and facilitator and also the Pace e Bene group in Australia who promote spiritually grounded nonviolence trainings and work to connect people engaged in living nonviolence in their lives.

I value compassion, honesty and playfulness in a friend. Being kind and having a laugh are the two most important things we can do. One of the places that I value a great deal is Silver Wattle Quaker Centre and it is here that I find myself engaging meaningfully with many friends, old and new. This pic is of an old friend who introduced Chris and myself – it is taken at Silver Wattle after a course on Quaker Healing just before I was to be whisked away with another friend for a coffee in the local township of Bungendore.

Growing food and flowers and seeing the change that is possible over time gives me hope. Talking to the birds lightens my heart. Remembering the wisdom and rancour of the birds at different times makes me smile – I have been called to attention by the gentle swooping of a magpie on the way to work and soundly berated by the angry blackbirds after I netted the raspberries. Grappling with the questions these interactions pose gives me a great deal to contemplate and act on.

Moira Darling – 29.10.14