I am “Kelli Gillman-Bate Park, a wife, mother, daughter, sister, teacher, friend, woman of the world, writer and storyteller.
I lived most of my life in South Africa and for the last 9 years I have lived here in Cairns. I am married to a gorgeous man and we have a beautiful daughter Grace.
I am passionate about sharing my stories as a way to connect. We are all on our own journeys but we need not be alone. We need to be empowered by each other. I believe gentleness is strength and vulnerability is courage. Sometimes I write poetry and sometimes I write prose, sometimes I write about my feelings and sometimes I write about my observations. Please feel free to browse, have a read and share and respond however you feel.
My warmest wishes to you – Kelli Gillman Bate Park
Words and Stories
Words have been my curse and my gift. They are the weapons with which my depression holds me to ransom; “ If only you were… If only you could…. You should…. You shouldn’t….” They are stones of judgment that I hurl from my sometimes-ill brain on high, with force, down on my imperfect heart and body. My soul knows she is perfect and waits patiently just watching.
My words, the ones in my head, heart and my mouth, are also my blessing. My people laugh with me. I have the gift of wording anything, really, anything, into something funny, beautiful or just more manageable. I can turn any situation, through my description of it, the re-framing of it, into something laughable, simple and acceptable, and extremely human, thus connecting myself and my people, weaving us into the same story.
(That was uncomfortable for me to express. Positive words about myself are not easy to share. I prefer to let them sit quietly and patiently, unworded, in my heart. They are safe there. Safe from my bumbling, dropping or smashing of them, because my behavior may betray them and may not always be true. )
We are the only creatures on earth who have the power of language, the use of words, to stamp ownership on things. We as human beings own property, material things, emotions, situations, all by wording them. We are also the only creatures who claim ownership of anything; countries money, oceans etc. I’ll just leave that there for now.
We may have lost focus here as it’s easier to document and sign with purchase slips than it is to own our emotions and compassion with the gentle and powerful spoken word.
I love words, ask my family, I use them liberally. My daughter’s face changes from, “Wow Mom!” to,” Really!?” to, “ Enough already!” at the rate of knots. She’s smart, her face is worth a thousand words, she is so comfortable in this life that she has no need to own anything through words. She has a deep, peaceful knowledge that it all just “is”. She gets that from her Dad. I mostly try to ignore their expressions and soldier on, for their own benefit, really. I mean, because: WORDS !!
I too like silence, don’t get me wrong. Love quiet time. However, when I am quiet it does not mean that words, sentences, thoughts and worded emotions aren’t moving like a freight train through my brain. No Sir-ee Bob! My Sister told my husband when we were first married, “Be careful, even when she sleeps, she is thinking!” She was not wrong.
For the purpose of connection I would like to share my stories, the monologue of my life so far. The human condition, now more than ever, needs compassion and connection, it needs to belong and be understood, it needs to be loved unconditionally, because we need to get back to why we are here; to lovingly walk with each other on our journey home.
I believe stories are personal metaphors that we like to hear or read or watch, as it makes us feel connected. We either relate (me too..), learn (oh ..), or judge (oh my…), or simply wonder…. But we experience a connection. We are genetically, culturally and humanly geared for stories.
Like a story has a beginning, a transformational middle and an ending, so each day has a beginning, a noon and an eve, and each year its seasons. Like a story our lives have rituals and behaviors, which befit each, time or season. Our journey is marked by our personal experience of a lifetime of dawn to dusks, summers to winters.
So I believe that stories mark time. They weave otherwise fleeting experiences into the fabric of our existence, they give ownership to fleeting emotions and they save for posterity that which washes over and through us.
Stories also mark our experiences, creating murals of our journey. They take life and create bite size glimpses into our mortality and they create our immortality.
Stories anchor our turbulent existence by creating metaphors that connect us to those who came before us, those whom we share time and space with and those who are yet to come.
Stories let our Tribal Souls feel that we belong.
Stories show us the truth in our living.
As humans we have an instinctual need to be loved, to belong and to be good enough. I believe that stories show us how to satisfy all of these needs.
Stories would mark the end of the working day in many traditional cultures, perhaps representing a transition from physical activity to more spiritual pursuits. The tribe would sit together around the fire, still, listening, connected and hearing the message they needed. The story was the same heard by the whole tribe, but often the meaning assigned was a personal one.
Stories are gifted opportunities to connect to humanity. They are shape-shifting monologues: we see, hear and feel them as we are, not as they are. This is why we love stories, because no matter what, we fit, we belong.
They are the bridge, the outstretched arm, a hug, and a spot light. They are many things to many people.
Stories began with time.
A story may be a monologue in word, but in the mind and soul of a writer, it is a two way street. Writers expose themselves, make themselves vulnerable, open themselves to judgment and praise, love and rejection. The results of their labour, placed on the world’s stage. Writers connect with humanity this way. I believe that the process of my writing connects me to the divine and frees my higher self – my love center – without all my human noise.
I am inspired to share Love’s voice. We all share Love (God or the Divine Creator) and she uses different voices. Two of my heroine’s in Writing and Life are the amazing and inimitable Elizabeth Gilbert and Glennon Doyle Melton. Glennon Doyle Melton speaks of the dichotomy of Love and Fear and Elizabeth Gilbert speaks of the dichotomy of Courage and Fear, but they both speak of a spiritual muse. Glennon calls it “Love’s voice speaking through me” and Elizabeth truly believes that ideas are independent spiritual beings seeking human channeling. I love this idea. I share this belief. That Love is a greater, divine force, that is channeled through us when we create (we are all creators in our own divine way). We need to trust the process, how many times have we heard that – must be something to it, but that’s another chapter.
Fear is the common factor and our instinctive protector and has been since Day One. We are all here because at some stage our ancestors and elders listened to Fear and lived. Fear is our “go to” emotion. It is our default state of being because it maintains the status quo and our safety. It is our basic instinct to react with fight, flight or freeze. This keeps us safe and gets us nowhere. And Nowhere is a place I have been to, hell, I set up house in Nowhere. Yes, housekeeping in Nowhere sucks. There is the daily clean up of regret; the continuous mess of self-doubt and the dust from guilt and loneliness is oppressive. But, we are all children of successful and brave hunters, gatherers and warriors, and that “ain’t no small thang”.
So, since Fear is literally family, she always comes along for the ride. I acknowledge her, thank her, and relegate her to the back seat. Courage and Love, they are my Co-Pilot and Navigator. I have decided that Love will navigate this journey of life for me. Her’s is the only map I trust and the only direction I want. Courage, she’s my Co-Pilot. When I am tired and lost, she is my wingman. I trust her to keep us moving.
Imagine travelling through this world in a great big Cadillac – one like Thelma and Louise drove. I personally love, and aspire to actually own one day, a big white 1971 convertible Mercedes Benz, with a huge old steering wheel and red upholstery. This is my dream car.
In my Life’s Vehicle we are 3 up in front. Those of us with some mileage on our clocks, of a certain age, we know the front seat is one long couch baby! So is the back.
Saint Love and Ms. Courage sit up front with me. Great-Aunty Fear sits in the back with some of my baggage.