#129 Shazar Robinson – The heart of volunteering

Follow the human journey into the world of volunteering with Shazar Robinson, consultant at the Sankalpa Rural Development Society and former ambassador of the Shikshangram Shelter for Children in India.

Shazar candidly shares her journey with volunteering and talks about the light and dark side of giving time. She speaks about the conditionality of volunteering and how it was moving to a place, within herself, of giving without any expectation of receiving was the gateway to receiving so many unexpected gifts.

Shazar also talks about how her work at a children’s project in India caused her to question why there was so many abandoned children that lead to her next project that focuses on cleverly harnessing year round water supply in rural areas – this truly is a fascinating story in inquisitive thinking and underlines the true importance and almost sacred nature of water.

Charitable giving, whether time or money, can be an awkward process for many as it can bring up all sorts of fear and worries relating lack and scarcity against a backdrop of the desire to be perceived as generous. However, this conversation, in which Shazar speaks very openly and with great vulnerability about her own journey with giving, provides a safe space for you to consider your relationship with giving.

 

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Bryn 

followed the human journey into the world of voluntary with shoes out Robinson, consultant at the Shin culper Rural Development society and former ambassador of the shelter for children in India. She’s our candidly shares her journey with volunteering, talks about the light and dark side of giving time. She speaks about the conditionality of voluntary and how it was moving to a place within herself of giving without expectation of receiving anything. There was the gateway to receiving so many unexpected gifts. She’s are also talks about how her work at Children’s project in India caused her to question why there were so many abandoned children on the streets in India that led her to a next project that focuses on cleverly harnessing year round water supply in rural areas. This is a truly fascinating story and inquisitive thinking that underlies the true importance and almost sacred nature of water. Let’s face it, charitable giving, whether time or money can be an awkward process for many of us as it can bring up all sorts of fears and worry relating to lack and scarcity creates a backdrop of the desire of wanting to be seen as generous and good. However, this conversation, which is aspects very openly and with great vulnerability about our own journey with giving provides a safe space for you to consider your own relationship with giving. So enjoy shoes up. Hello, and welcome back to wi real. I’m your host Bryn Edwards. Volunteering is what will be deep diving into today with my guest. She’s our Robinson. She’s Welcome to the show.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Thanks very much. Thanks for having me.

 

Bryn 

So one of the questions I like to ask my guests right at the start because it is called wi rail. We look at the Wi Fi part is is your connection to Wi Fi you grew up here. That’s really excited. Yeah. So and to stand out in the middle of nowhere and quite an isolated conditions. Tell me what was that like?

 

Shazar Robinson 

I think it was one of the best childhoods you could ever have. Why was that? Because I was in the bush and I had space and apart from my father’s edicts of don’t do this and don’t do that I could roam around anywhere there was no stranger danger there was no none of the stuff that you have these days you know if I want feel felt like to go out in the pedic and play in the old rubbish dump where I could dig up all bottles and, and bits of metal and goodness knows what then I could do. That was no problem. I had a huge tree, a big all sort of waddle tree that I had. I had some old saddles on that waddled tree and they were my horses, right and I used to ride these branches that were a bit springy. And that was my My I was by myself so I had this huge imaginary place in my head. And I think if I’d been in the city it would have been really different.

 

Bryn 

Yeah. And where was it your matches? match?

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah. 120 miles then it was miles out of queue. Yes. So that’s pretty far out. Yeah, one mile trek a week. And I used to get up in the high branch of the model tree and watch for the mail truck for hours because you could see the dust coming you know, yeah, yeah. Cuz they’re all dirt roads then.

 

Bryn 

And, and then you went to boarding school?

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yes. That was a bit different as the change in tone of voice

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah, I went to I went to boarding school, and I didn’t like her very much.

 

Bryn 

I guess that was kind of necessary.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Well, yeah, it was except that I think I went a bit young. But I remember that because I did School of the air. Well, I did you know, like cars. Spotnitz my mom taught me and then I remember once coming down we were one of my mom’s ads had the shop at Palm Beach jetty down in Rockingham, and that was our holiday we would go down there for holidays and that was brilliant. You know, because you were the sea side could go fishing. She had little rowing boats, I could go rowing. Heaps of stuff there. But one time data mom wanted to go on holiday themselves and they put me into Rockingham Primary School for only a week or something so they could go away. Well, it didn’t last more than one morning they came to see me at assembly and I was ran out of the assembly and refused back. So that was my beginning of school, which was just like, you know, terrified me because it was such a bushy, but then finally I came to boarding school with my two older sisters were already at that school so I wasn’t just totally thrown in the deep end right?

 

Bryn 

Did you find boarding school?

 

Shazar Robinson 

I didn’t like it very much. It wasn’t I wasn’t home, I didn’t have my horse. There was no space. I walked into the classroom and in the end, the teacher said to me, and what’s your name, dear? And I said, my name then was Susan. I said, Susan Robinson, and she said, Oh, we can’t have you. We’ve already got one of you. And I was like, What? class? She took her ages to get me to come back. Because she was of course on a joking but she was joking. So yeah, right from the beginning. What is school wasn’t all that great. I didn’t I didn’t you know, kids who were really good at sport. They fit it in yet boarding school, but I wasn’t so I didn’t really fit into

 

Bryn 

do feel fortunate to have grown up in Western Australia.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yes, I do. Totally. I think

 

Shazar Robinson 

space, space, you know, we have so much space We just have like sky and space and see and really lucky and opportunity we have a tremendous amount of opportunity. So yeah, I feel very lucky but I think I’m also a very lucky person you know? Because many things come my way you know i many things come my way I have I have really good friends I have always have enough. Always have Yeah, always have enough. I’m not wealthy, I don’t own a bunch of stuff but always have enough. So I think that my life has been incredibly fortunate. I used I used to stay and I still do sighs sometimes that I never had to sleep under a bridge yet. You know, I don’t I don’t have a heaps of stuff, but everything I need always comes to me now. So I’ve been pretty close to it. But I never really had to sleep under a bridge. So I think that I’m really fortunate.

 

Bryn 

When did you just you say that everything you need comes to you? Have you always known and live by that? Or is he started to work

 

Shazar Robinson 

for a long time? For a long time I’ve lived like that. Yeah. Yeah, probably since. I mean, things were weren’t always easy and, and, and great. You know, I had some tough times when I was when I was younger, but

 

Shazar Robinson 

I think essentially I’ve lived by that for a long time.

 

Bryn 

So volunteering, serving others. Where does that come in the shoes of story. Is it something that was role modelling from a young age? Or is it something that’s no right from within? You?

 

Shazar Robinson 

Know, it’s?

 

Shazar Robinson 

Well, yeah, I mean, there’s two sides to that there’s a side that’s the negative side. The side that I was taught as a kid was that if I anticipated what was needed, before it was needed, and provided it, I would be okay, I would be safe. I would maybe be seen, and I would be I would get what I needed. Your example. An example of that was that I used to watch my dad carefully. And when he needed his lighter for his cigarettes or slippers or his drink or whatever it was, I could be there and Give that before he said can you get that for me? Yeah. And when I did that then I was sort of seen more I was always trying to get his his approval I guess. So if I look at volunteering in a negative way now so maybe I started from the wrong side here but if I look at voluntary from a negative way hi we wanted to come Yeah, but I might what I do is I make myself needed

 

Shazar Robinson 

so that I

 

Shazar Robinson 

get recognition

 

Shazar Robinson 

that’s Yeah, I mean, that’s the that’s the dark side of it. The the end that I learned very young and when I get that now I go that’s all I do is just do make everybody need me so that I’m needed. Yeah, but actually, drama. drama. happened too often but volunteering as such, this part probably started or the thought of it started quite a long time ago, maybe maybe even 25 years ago. And I met a guy called Paul Dunne who who’s an interesting men, and he was comparing a movie that was on here in Perth. And it was about it was called the Y or the big question or something around it, but he talked about the concept of creating wealth, so you could give back, right? And I went, yeah, I really liked that idea. So I started to work with that. And I actually spent quite a lot of money doing courses to create wealth so I could give back and then about I don’t know Maybe 1015 years ago, I’d spent quite a lot of money on a particular course. And then the guy came over to Perth and wanted to sell me some more stuff. And I’m going like, this isn’t really working for me. I’m not creating all this wealth so I can give back what’s happening. And then this guy says to me, in this individual session where he was trying to get me to buy more courses, he said, you should buy this course because and I went, look, you know, really, I’m, I’m not ready to do that right now. I don’t have that money. And he looked at me and he said, She’s our Do you want to be a bag lady and always say, I skews me. I heard you playing a field trip on me. And I’m outta here. And from that, I went home and I took all the course material that I had, and I checked it all in the recycling bin and I went, I’m not doing this anymore. And I’ve shifted or changed From that point, so actually, he was a good catalyst for me. Yeah, he shifted my point of view completely from where to where, from, from that striving to make money so that I could give back. And then I went, this is not working, I have to do something different. And then, and actually, this gets to be a long story, but I had a big realisation that it was my place to actually always here to support the earth. And then I had another realisation in all that, that turned up in Peru Actually, I was on a on a trip to Peru with some really good friends and mentors of mine. And on the last day, we were in this incredible temple, ancient place, and we did a ceremony at that place. I found myself lying face down on the earth after the end of the ceremony with the sensation of I thought I came to Peru for me. And what I understood then that I came to Peru, because I needed to see that I wasn’t actually here for me, I was here for for Mother Earth. So that was really strong for me.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Then the next

 

Shazar Robinson 

step in that was when I realised that I had been waiting for somebody to come to me and say, Look, I’m doing this great work, why don’t you come and help me? And I suddenly went like, Oh, actually, it’s not up. It’s not up to somebody else to invite me. It’s up to me to invite myself into something that somebody else is doing if I want to support that. So I read your blog post about

 

Bryn 

90 degree turn.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah. So from that point on I met a whole bunch of Indian people and I went to India and I went to see what they were doing. And I landed up at this shelter for kids. And just fell in love with the kids, which is really unusual for me because I never had kids. I never really been into kids. Everybody was like, What are you doing working with kids? You know, you don’t even like kids? Well, yeah, I worked with those kids for about six years. I lived at the shelter for six months of the year and just hung out with the kids and did everything that I could do from building their website to sticking plaster on their on their cuts to everything. And I’m still very connected with that shelter with those kids.

 

Bryn 

Interesting. Yeah. The switch there you were saying about waiting for something to happen. And then Listen to the penny drops, that you can just go and give it. Yeah. Now instead it sounds like you’ve had a couple of conditions set up that have to be met before you could do it and they’ve just dropped away. I need to be wealthy. So therefore I can give back. I need to be asked to do something.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

 

 

So yeah, that

 

Shazar Robinson 

that was a was very strong realisation and once I, once I got that, then I understood that I didn’t have to, I didn’t have to have any, any conditions. I could just do what I was drawn to do. And when I did that, really everything would come.

 

Bryn 

Yes.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Everything comes

 

Bryn 

I don’t want attention as a life, doesn’t it?

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah, I mean, sometimes I still get into like, Oh no,

 

Shazar Robinson 

but you know, Not like I used to.

 

Bryn 

Yeah. So you said earlier on there’s there was a dark side to voluntary making, you know, by doing something you you’re needed and then it gives you externally gives you a place in the world. What what’s the light side of volunteer?

 

Shazar Robinson 

The light side is that actually volunteering, you know people say people often say to me Oh, you’re so amazing. You’re so generous. You’re so dear. She said that. Yeah, okay, fine. But, you know, when, when I do the work that I do, I get so much. You know, it’s like, it’s it just, it just comes back in waves. It comes back in waves. It’s not in the end. I do it for myself or Really do? Yeah. I mean, yeah, it looks like I’m doing it for everybody else. But really I’m doing it for me. Because when I, when I go to India now what I’m doing now I go to India and a work in India and I do all this stuff. Every day I learned stuff. And the other part about it is the, the, the learning of that is also about this learning of finding that place where it’s in balance, where you are clear, where you are not getting your own ego stuff in the way where you’re not getting your own has to be this way your own control your own. All of that stuff is not getting in the way is looking for that place where it’s the balanced place. And that’s the place where it’s the place. The dark isn’t the dark is always present. Yeah, but because the light is always present but that balanced place is the place of Who am I really in this? And being in in India stripped away from all the comfort zone stuff that you have here?

 

Bryn 

Isn’t it like India to take you to a place like that?

 

Shazar Robinson 

You know, it’s like, in every moment.

 

Bryn 

Yeah.

 

Shazar Robinson 

So that’s the, the joy of it and the gain of it. The the wealth of it is being given that opportunity to continually look and see who am I in this?

 

Bryn 

So it sounds like there’s always like a bigger inner journey to the voluntary,

 

 

totally

 

Bryn 

external,

 

Shazar Robinson 

yeah, absolutely. There is completely because if that was not there would be if and yeah, it would be all unbalanced.

 

Bryn 

And it’s interesting that just sitting here reflecting on it, that What it what it what I imagine it gives you is so very nourishing compared to the shallowness of Oh, I feel needed. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Because to me feeling needed sounds very, very transactional.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yes.

 

Bryn 

And, you know, one of the things I learned several years ago was that many of my sort of relationships with Pascal friends and stuff was very much on the transactional way. And often that was around help. You know, so if I help her, then she’ll see me as indispensable and then that hopefully will lead to all the good stuff for for love and intimacy and closeness. And but it’s by doing rather than being whereas I find particularly with the poker if I can give me That’s then just wealth of stuff comes back. Yeah. Is that the similar sort of thing?

 

Shazar Robinson 

Absolutely. Completely like that. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And the clear that I can be, the more I can hear the opportunities that come your way. Well, this is just an example. But the guy that I’m working with water now with, I’m working with water harvesting for the farmers and I work with a small NGO that’s a not for profit organisation, with a young man was 35. So who’s a villager so he’s not an educated way? Yes, had some education but he’s not a upper class person or even a middle class person. He’s a village person. So it’s his organisation. And I’m supporting him in the work that he’s doing for the farmers last year, A few months ago, I had been involved or been and you know, I search on the net for things. Yeah, for information from whatever, I’m always researching stuff. And I found this organisation called the International waterfowl water Association. And I was interested in what they did. And then suddenly they had an award thing. So I just thought, oh, I’ll just apply for that for him. And I did it without any thought that he might possibly get that award. Yeah, but that was an opportunity that just came because I was happened to see it. Well, I don’t really believe in happening to see stuff. I think that we’re given things. I think opportunities are coming all the time. We just need to be awake. And once again, clear. Balance plays out of our own way, in order to be able to say those things anyway, I put this application in, lo and behold the one You know, and we’ve just been to Sri Lanka for him to get that award. Wow. So yeah, that’s what I mean, you know if I can stay clear and if I can stay balanced then I can hear and see those opportunities.

 

Bryn 

That’s awesome. Been, yeah. Clear and balanced to be able to. Yeah.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Because I think that all of us

 

Shazar Robinson 

have opportunities all the time. I think there are opportunities arise or, or gifts that are offered to us all the time. And I think it when I’m in my head, and I’m stuck in my garage, yeah, I can’t see those things. No, yeah. Yeah, so the game is, you know, the play is to get out of the way so those possibilities can be taken up or can be applied for like, yeah.

 

Bryn 

That’s awesome. So tell me a bit more about the water project.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Well, when I was with the kids, they’re 170 children at that shelter now. I was really looking at what was happening in India. Why are there so many kids on the street? You know, these are not orphans, necessarily. Some of them, about 30% of them are orphans. The rest of them are kids who are homeless kids, kids who can’t be cared for because they’re being cared for by the grandparent, or they found this crazy or whatever, you know, they can’t be cared for. So they come to the shelter. And I started asking, Why are there so many homeless kids in India, and the conclusion that I actually that came out of the work I used to do Be a health practitioner. I work together with Sasha and my sister who you’ve also interviewed. Yeah. So I was always looking for what was the underlying cause of dis ease or imbalance in the health. Then I said there is the same thing around the bigger picture why there’s so many kids on the street. And what I came out with that was when they go back to the village, you see there’s problems in the village, their communities breaking down. There’s a huge migration of people in India, we talk about migration from war zones. Now you got to look at migration from from lack of water. And that’s why they’re migrating, they’ve got no water, or they’re in the summertime in the hot season, their waters run out. And the farmers are migrating to the cities for work. Yeah, and either they leave their kids and a family behind them that causes other problems or they finally end up taking their family with them and Wouldn’t they first get to the city? They can’t even get into the slum. They’re living on the street under a piece of top Hall, Poland, the farmers, the farmers, their wives, their kids, and the kids are on the street running around in between the traffic. They’re the kids that knock on the window and blogging or selling little things. Yeah. So these are the kids who are at high risk. And they’re the sort of kids that end up in a hostel, like the shelter that I was working at. So I start looking at all of those kids and I’m going Why are there so many kids on the street? Oh, gets come back to the village. Why is the community breaking down, communities breaking down because the farmers don’t have enough order. And so I met the guy who I’m working with now because we also didn’t have water at the shelter. And he came to help us with that problem. And then I had some other challenges at the shelter. It was it was time for me to move on. And so I said to him, can I come and see what you’re doing? And, you know, maybe see if I can help what you’re doing and he was like, oh, Madam, everybody calls me men. You know, it’s, it’s respect. Yeah, no, madam Blaze. He said count. So I went and yeah, I just really liked what he was doing and I started to work with him. So he’s doing a system which is called bulwell recharge. So the many farmers in India have bought wells, because they were they were taught that they better start getting more water so they knew this technology so they suppose their symbol wells every 50 yards is like, you know, like a forest of bull wells and they think that that’s a never ending thing. This this water table underneath Well, the water table is disappearing rapidly. It’s a huge problem. And what we do is we put the monsoonal rain back into the ball well, so we’re recharging the water table. So we help the farmer even with dry that boils, we can work with it,

 

Bryn 

right? So it really does, right? And yeah, so that’s been optimised

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah, because normally in that monsoonal rain, it just runs off. Yes and it tastes it topsoil with it. Yeah. So we build a small pond we collect the water into this point and then we have a system a very simple system that we channel that water back into. We’re select a false well around the ball well casing which has got sits cut into it, and it’s got filtration material, so modern rubbish doesn’t go back into the boil, but the water goes back into the boil and recharges the underlying water table.

 

Bryn 

And then without provide enough year round

 

Shazar Robinson 

that will provide the farmer with water for the irrigation for the dry season. Yeah. And then this, reinvigorating, that’s re invigorating the community thus bringing more money back into The village this giving what work to the landless labourers, many, many benefits from that, including, as you pull more and more water out of the water table, the deeper the water table drops, the more intensive toxins are in that water table, like in the water in the area where see kinda my my boss lives. his village, they have high fluoride there. Yes. So you see the little old ladies all crunched up, you know, their bones are all distorted from the excessive fluoride. In many places in India they have they have high arsenic in the water. So we all know that’s not a no, it’s not mere. Yeah. So those things get diluted when you put rain water back into the boil, so that the that gets diluted so the quality of the water gets better.

 

Bryn 

And then ultimately, people stay in the village Yes, go to the city. Yep. Kids don’t need to have a Yeah. didn’t take much for you to get your head systemically around this.

 

Shazar Robinson 

My head says What do you mean

 

Bryn 

to ask the question why their kids on the streets in the hostiles and then track back and then get to a water? No, it’s not the most obvious thing like our water in the village is causing stories on the kids that kids on the street so

 

Shazar Robinson 

I don’t really know how long it took me to get to that to be quite honest. I

 

Bryn 

does anybody else think about it in a systemic manner like that, that you met.

 

Shazar Robinson 

My partner thinks about stuff like that.

 

Shazar Robinson 

He’s got that sort of a brain. But I think it came out of my hair, my my healing stuff, you know, because I was always looking at You know, somebody comes in with a headache. And you go well, why not? Not? What can I give you to stop the headache? But why am I Why am people the headache? You know what’s going on in the body that that is really underneath all of that? Because if you can, if you can correct what, what is underneath it, say detoxify the system of the, of the toxic load that’s in the system, then the symptoms, which is the headache will go away. So the symptom is the kid on the street. Yeah, it’s a symptom of something that’s wrong. Some sort of imbalance in the country in the in in their world. Yeah. Yeah. So if we can look at those things is the symptom. You know, like, why do we have wars? It’s a symptom. Yeah. But it’s the war isn’t the problem.

 

Bryn 

We so quickly get stuck in the symptom. Yeah. And trying to fix this. symptom in and of itself. Yeah. Rather than spending the time tracking,

 

Shazar Robinson 

it doesn’t work. You’ve got to check it back. The first thing I did was I, I went and built, I raise funds. And I built a what’s called a check them, which is a small dam, which checks the flow of the monsoon and water in a small, what they call anala, which is a small river. Yeah. And I built that check them in village, long way away from the kids who are still actually. But it was an area where a lot of the kids came from and where some of their teachers and that came from as well. And I lived in the village for thing can’t remember was three weeks or six weeks. It was a long time anyway. And it was in really hot season was super hot. And I basically raised the funds for that and we built this dam and there was a team of libraries there and one Teachers from the school he was also helping me with that. That was my first foray into doing water harvesting. I was still living and working at the school in. But yeah, that was pretty challenging time. Living in the village with the, with the family in the village, very, very isolated village. Actually that village had had 35 farmer suicides in the past five years or so every avenue. Everybody in that village had been affected by a farmer suicide.

 

Shazar Robinson 

And the farmer suicides are

 

Shazar Robinson 

not the government says, Yeah, the farmers commit suicide because they’re all addicted to drink. And it’s to do with dead and it’s this and that, you know, well, yeah, it is. But there are symptoms. Yeah. Why does a farmer become an alcoholic? Because he can’t face his dead because he hasn’t had any water to grow his Crop For how long?

 

Shazar Robinson 

So yeah, it’s interesting of the second

 

Bryn 

guest in two weeks that’s talked about decreasing water in the india pakistan area.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Really.

 

Bryn 

The other one last week was a guy called Michael Hilliard who looks at it looks at geopolitics and looks at how climate change is, is is meaning that the rain in Pakistan is not going where it needs to. And he’s going further and further and further into India, which will leave Pakistan as a dry country when that happens, what will happen, given the tension between the two countries?

 

Shazar Robinson 

Well, I mean, that happens even between states in India, really? Yeah, because India is an amazing country and they got such huge major, massive, beautiful rivers. You know, you drive through through India, it’s not like if you drive east here, from here, you can Desert, right? If you just drive from from Mumbai, across East, you cross the river and you go bit further across a river. You know, it’s like it doesn’t do what Australia does. But if you’ve got a river that’s running through two states, layers we have in Connecticut, which is where I live. Now, when I’m there. The river, the main river that’s coming into Africa, is they’re fighting over that river all the time, because the guys up in the next day that taking water from there and who gets the rights to that water and who’s built a dam where it’s crazy stuff. You don’t even have to be Pakistan, India to get the fights, right. You know, there’s fights all over with it with water.

 

Bryn 

Suggesting water was so spent much time thinking about it.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Well, we better start thinking about it because it’s one of the most major things on the planet. That right now is a big problem. Right now is

 

Bryn 

made you more aware of water globally and locally? Yes. Yes. What have you learned?

 

Shazar Robinson 

I’ve learned that the principles that we apply in India can be applied pretty much anywhere that we need to work locally with local solutions rather than with big solutions. Because the big solutions tend not to work particularly well. I, I just understand that none of us really understand that water is a basically it’s a sacred substance. And while we treat it like a resource and something we can just it’s there for us to use as we want to use it. We in gonna be in big trouble pretty soon and we already are in I’m leaving. Absolutely, we’re here, completely here. You know, we can’t ignore it here. We can’t ignore it anywhere. But, but we are. You know, I mean, yeah, it’s not so obvious here. It’s very obvious in India, you know, in India, if you if you look at land that’s on a little river and you think, oh, and that might be a good place to build or whatever. I remember we were looking for a piece of land where we thought we’d build a farmer, producer organisations headquarters. And there was one piece that was down by a small river, and I said, to see kind of where we should go look at that, because it’s near the water. He said, I know you wouldn’t want to be there. The smell is really bad, because that small river is really polluted. Because people use the rivers as the place to dump the garbage is the place to wash the stuff away. Whereas here we go. It’s the river you know, we have a big houses on the river and you know being on the river is prestige and not in India

 

Bryn 

is interesting. Because everyone’s trucking stuff and yes, it will just wash the government. Yeah,

 

Shazar Robinson 

well, it should do but because of our high population, it doesn’t

 

Bryn 

end especially for ones that, yeah.

 

Shazar Robinson 

They end up looking like drains instead of rivers. You know, it’s interesting to consider what you said about what being a sacred substance? Well, I think, I think that we need to give rivers and water the same rights as human beings. Because until we do, we don’t treat them properly until we understand that without this without this water present, we are Dead. we’re gone. You know, we’re what we’re right at 90% water. So fear,

 

Bryn 

yeah. We can go for weeks without food but only days without Yep.

 

Shazar Robinson 

And the amount of water

 

Shazar Robinson 

that is really potable water, drinkable water on the planet is being reduced daily. And it’s such a tiny amount compared to the total amount of water. And even the total amount of water that’s on the planet is really a small amount and water doesn’t get produced. We’re not it’s a finite substance. It is Yeah, this amount of water is how much we’ve got. We haven’t got more. We’re not going to make more tomorrow. It doesn’t happen rain comes but rain comes because water went up there. So it comes back down again. It’s not something we can just make manufacture know.

 

Shazar Robinson 

So we better take care of what we got.

 

Shazar Robinson 

And if we can help people to understand that it’s a sacred substance that it needs respect, then

 

Shazar Robinson 

then we can change something

 

Shazar Robinson 

then we can then we’ll take care of it until we do that will continue to around the tab while we brush our teeth. Run the shower while we go and YSL or whatever we do because we’re waiting for the hot water to come or whatever it is, you know, it will continue to throw that water away down the drain.

 

Bryn 

Does it make you angry? It does.

 

 

Yeah.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah, makes me sad to see ya. I get quite sad sometimes. But then, you know, sometimes if I get dark, then I go, what’s the point of doing anything? You know, what am I doing? I’m helping this farmer and that farmer and the next farmer. And so what you know, but

 

Shazar Robinson 

yeah, just

 

Shazar Robinson 

if nobody does anything, well, nothing happens at all. So I’m only one person, but I do what I can do. And then if if somebody sees, oh, she’s doing that, I could do that, then. Then a ripple happened. So more more can happen. But yeah, sometimes I get sad about it. Actually. I think I wrote that. You might have read that but that is a part of what happened was when I was at the kids shelter. There was I had a period of time where I was crying all the time. I was crying so much cry about ideas we’re on the edge of the what they call the gentle isn’t really jungle anymore because all cut but we’re on the edge of the jungle and the the village local villages used to cut the trees for firewood and you know, I’d see them cutting down this tree and it was a big tree and they can cut the smallest stuff, you know, but they’d be coming down this tree and I would just flip out and start to cry like crazy. I would cry seeing seeing a young couple camped by the railway station on a piece of cardboard with a little kid, you know, trying to cook the dinner where I would cry about so many things and I was like, why am I doing all this crying? And then I happened to listen to a tape I had by a man called Andrew Harvey who’s a mystic teacher. And he said that if you don’t experience heartbreak then you haven’t really seen What’s going on? And until you experience the breaking of your heart and that’s breaks it open for you to really see what’s going on until it happens. You won’t really do something.

 

Bryn 

Yeah, and that’s break open not breaking hard.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah, break open. break open. And when I heard that was that was one of those serendipitous moments. Yeah. When I heard that I was like, Ah, that’s why I’m crying all the time. And once I heard that, once I got that then I then I then the crying stopped. That distress stopped because I understood what it was about. Mm

 

Bryn 

hmm.

 

Bryn 

So that’s resonated with me at the moment. Yeah,

 

Shazar Robinson 

that’s okay. I’m Yeah.

 

Bryn 

Because it Yeah, pick Easy to be feel, feel drawn to do something which then smashes your heart over and over and over again.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah, you know, one day I was driving out of Mumbai on the way back up to the shelter, and I saw a lady on this busy road. And you know, in India, when they wash clothes, they hit them on a stone or on a concrete or whatever, you know, that’s the way they wash the clothes. And she was pulling water right in the edge of the traffic, pulling water out of a broken burst water main. And she was washing our clothes on that on a piece of broken pavement stone. They’re in almost in the middle of the traffic. And I’m like, nobody, nobody should have to live like that.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Now, so sometimes

 

Shazar Robinson 

You see things or you yeah sometimes I see things that really really bring home what’s going on on this planet you know we An example is people go and I come back from India go on late because the traffic was so bad I go like what traffic What are you talking about? There is no traffic here.

 

Shazar Robinson 

You know, people go

 

Shazar Robinson 

the internet was down all the something, you know, this is really firstworldproblems stuff. But you know, when when you see stuff in India like that, you go like, yeah, this is what’s really this is this is what’s happening on our planet. And it’s not that far away. And I always said, I say to people, you know, like, these kids that I was working with in in, in the shelter. There are kids, not somebody else’s kids. Oh kids. Now, kids You know that they’re, they’re the future of our planet, these kids. So everybody needs to look after these kids. We all need to look after all the kids that are on the planet. Hmm.

 

Bryn 

Tell me about what this might while this must be getting heavy at times. Sorry about hope in the Middle East and where you see signs of hope.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Hope is in everybody smile. Hope is in the ladies in the village inviting you in and offering your tea even when they don’t have anything else. Hope is in, in, in their hearts, you know. And people sort of sometimes say, Oh, I couldn’t go to India. I would find that too hard. Will Yeah, there’s the hard and there’s the dark side and there’s all of that stuff. But the smiles of the people, the the, the, the welcome of the people that half of the people I was k came into Bangalore one night. And as I came out of the International Airport, I want change some money. And I went to the money change and there’s a young guy at the money changer and I gave him $100 and he changed the money and as he gave it back to me, he smiled at me. He looked at me total looked at me, and as he smiled at me, he gave me his heart. Yeah, now what money change it ever in Perth airport, would you give you their heart with your change? Indian people like that. And for real? Yeah, I mean, yeah, there’s plenty of not real in this plenty of corruption and all the rest of it too, but especially in the villages. Especially with the just the immediate, the guy who drives you to the wherever, you know, these people are, they’re ready to be totally open with you. And that’s the that’s what gives you the hope when you know, hope some really weird word but yeah, that’s the joy. No, it’s okay. But that’s the joy of it. And the joy of it when I work in the office with the, with the boys and who I’m working with, you know. I just love those people so much, you know, insight, see Canada, this little guy, he’s little guy, he’s way shorter than me and his. And we travel a lot together because we’re always going to the village of whatever. You know, it’s such a beautiful person. He’s so positive. He’s so he’s so generous. You know, he’s just like, hugely generous. This. There’s when when There are people on the planet are so generous. So ready to give their their last little bit so ready to Yeah. Then of course we have possible future otherwise we might as well give up now. You know

 

Bryn 

it’s it’s interesting because I had podcast guest A while back who Rebecca and she was talking about giving or almost she was giving this idea of putting a signal out into the world, her her from a heart and not necessarily waiting for the echo to come back as in, as you were talking about earlier was like the dark side of volunteering, which is pulling something out to feel needed pulling in expecting their coat down back and just doing it for doing it sake and sometimes the echo does come back in in ways you didn’t ever expect.

 

Shazar Robinson 

So Sometimes it comes back completely left field, and no idea that it was going to come from the Yeah. Yeah.

 

Bryn 

And yet we get so caught up in our conscious analytical brain, as I call it. And, you know, don’t do this normally expect that but does it do is over transactional?

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah. Well, I think I think that in dangerous people or simple people or maybe village people, I’m I don’t know, but I you know, I read quite a bit of stuff about indigenous knowledge and the way of being and so recently I’ve been reading a book about American indigenous people and their Potlatch their giveaway ceremony and that has a relationship with that. And when the when the white people came to America, then they didn’t understand that giveaway thing and the American in the Indian people Would indigenous people would give something to them and they go, That’s a lovely thing. And they put it on the mantel place that sit there. And then the Indian girl Come along again. So I want that back, please. And that’s where the Indian giving story, you know, you’re an Indian giver means you give me something and then you want it back. Well, actually, they didn’t want to back but they wanted it to circulate. Yes. So they wanted I’m going to give that to you. It’s something of value for me, but I’m giving it to I’m passing on the energy of that. Yeah. But in that there’s a sort of an expectation that you’re going to pass it on also. Yes. or pass on something else. Like so it circulates Yeah, but doesn’t circulate. I give us you give me not like Christmas. Oh, have I got a present for that person because they’re going to give me a present. You know, it’s not that

 

Bryn 

tough arrangement.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah. It’s not transactional.

 

Bryn 

Yes.

 

Shazar Robinson 

So you don’t know where it’s coming from

 

Bryn 

logical Isn’t that as opposed to from here in the heart? Mm hmm. And I guess it must be fascinating working with villages in India, because it’s almost correct me if I’m wrong here. But it must be almost like peering into what life was like before the industrial revolution started to take a grip that, you know, we’re all part of Europe from industrial revolution was we’re now in information revolutions did further and further and further, more conscious mind, etc, etc. but to actually work with people on the land.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah, I recently went to what’s called a remote village but interestingly, it’s only an hour out of quite a big city. But that village is a village of about 300 people and those people actually tribals and their cattle people, they own cattle they own and they live right on the edge of the jungle like a government jungle. And they had two hand pumps in that village that was all the water the head. They had no I don’t think they had any electricity now they’ve got solar. But we went into one of the houses of those villages. That house was such a simple place. You know, it’s like the, what they have, they have nothing. But it’s very interesting. They welcome you in, offer you something to drink. Yeah. Sometimes when I go and places like that I feel so privileged because it’s it’s rare to be able to be invited in to

 

Shazar Robinson 

homelike that.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah.

 

Shazar Robinson 

I’m not sure I can live like that,

 

 

huh.

 

Shazar Robinson 

But the village that I lived in when we did the damn it, that was pretty basic, but I mean, it was a it was a much more advanced house than we had electricity. We had a cooler that they used to put on at night that had some sort of water in it, but it was so noisy that it sounded like a jet engine. And we used to when I first went there, all the bedding is sort of stacked up in this other room outside every day and then that room was the main sitting room where you eat and everything. And actually there was David in there. And in the nighttime, they would put on this air cooler thing that was just Like, too much. And in the beginning I said, well, actually I’ll sleep in that being a foreigner and thinking I made my own space haha something you don’t get much job in India no sleep in that room. Well they were like are you sure and obviously Yeah, I’ll be fine I’ll sleepy that’ll be good. Anyway, I went to bed and a lying on the floor and on the bed, everybody else got their mattresses and put them in the main room with the aqualand main rooms not much bigger than not as big as this actually. And online down in this mattress and after a little while ago like something walking on me some sort of bugs in here. And there were these little black beetle things and they were everywhere and I was I can sleep in here. These beetles are going to take me away in the night. So I shook everything out and very sheepishly went in the main room with me Everybody else you know with the with the air cooler so you know like everybody lives on top of everybody else you don’t have that sense of this is mine This is yours yeah and sometimes when I come home in the email boarding school everyone lives on top yeah but you still had your cupboard yes true you know you still that was still let SENSE OF THIS IS MINE

 

Bryn 

MINE don’t come in this area. Yes. pretty small.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah. But they even you know, sometimes I would go out on the brand or and sit on the swing a chair the head just to have some space on mine. And then come out in the car. Come come come inside. You know you why you out here by yourself. On night, some spice. That’s what?

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah, space you don’t get much.

 

Bryn 

So if we, if we come out of your experiences of voluntary and then we reflect on your journey And, and look at everyday people here in Western Australia. Right? What? What sort of advice or guidance? Could you give someone on the journey towards giving more, because we’re all so we can be also very tightly wound up. It’s all about me. It’s about my space, get out and out and all appear in the head yet that drop into the heart and wanting to give in the way that you’ve talked about what are some of the things or advice that you could make sense?

 

Shazar Robinson 

I mean, I think practising giveaway is actually really

 

Shazar Robinson 

a really useful thing.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Really practising that. Look around what you don’t need. Give it away. Give it away without the expectation of anything necessarily coming back. I think that’s, that’s useful. We have too much stuff. Yeah, we have so much stuff and stuff clatters not only. I think kilometres not only your space, but it also cleanses your internal space. Yeah. So I think that’s a useful thing to practice. And then the other thing to practice to is to read more and watch less, you know, turn off the TV. Don’t read the newspapers, it’s all rubbish. You know, it’s not real. You get the news anyway, but that stuff also clutters up a heads makes their heads full of fear thing and Holding is about fear. You know, I’m afraid there’s not enough for me. I’m afraid somebody might attack me. I’m afraid somebody might come over my back fence, I’m afraid whatever. And, and that’s promoted by TV, it’s promoted by newspapers. It’s promoted by all of that stuff. So if we can reduce our exposure to, to the things that promote fear, then we’re more open to being able to be generous or to be to give of our possessions or a space or whatever that is.

 

Bryn 

As listen to it, stop making the transition from transactional Yeah, unfair. Unlock to dropping into Yeah.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah and it’s also dropping into a place of probably of trust. And I sort of like rat rather than coming from a place of fear coming from a place of trust.

 

Bryn 

And if you reflect on your journey, what have you learned about yourself?

 

Shazar Robinson 

Never stop learning.

 

Shazar Robinson 

You know that there’s always more to see.

 

Shazar Robinson 

And I’ve learned also to come out of the dark places quicker, right? And I’ve also learned to be able to ask my friends to help me when I need to. And I’ve learned that if I have something going on, you know, even if I have something going on with see Canada with the guy that I’m working with in India is to I think he’s pissed off with me or if I think something’s happening, I need to ask him you know, and sometimes they asked me looks at me, so I want to talk to you know, and I’m just like, well, I just felt it. So I wondered, you know, like that. So it’s like, get stuff out of the way as soon as you can, because you haven’t got time to muck around with it gets in the way, and it stops me doing what I’m here to do. Yeah.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah. I love that

 

Bryn 

coming out of the darkness quick.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah, it doesn’t mean that you don’t. I have some really hard times and especially when I first go back to India. I’ll sit on my bed and cry at night and go What am I doing here?

 

Shazar Robinson 

You know, I’m crazy.

 

Bryn 

Human journey

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah. But it’s like yeah, I’m I’m able to move out of that faster now. My understand the ways to helped myself to move out of that was some of the things that happy reading stuff, you know. I have a couple of helpful inspirational card things that I read there’s a guy called Barry Brailsford from New Zealand who is a very wise person who’s done some absolutely stunningly inspirational cards. They’re not like tarot cards, but they are sort of card that you take and it tells you a nature story and it gives you insights. I use those. I talked to my sister on Skype, I talked to my partner on Skype, you know, I opening and they go, it’s okay, you’re supposed to be there, you know, pet pet, whatever. So, so, you know, I have a lot of support for the things that I need to be doing. Yeah.

 

Bryn 

Okay, the next several years, 234 years. M. Terry goals aspirations for the water project. And so

 

Shazar Robinson 

I sort of stopped doing goal setting. I don’t really do that anymore. But I would like to write more I write quite a lot, but I would really like to write more. But that’s a light to, you know, is actually doing it is another story. To continue to support in whatever way I can do best. I think I have to say that because I can go Oh, yeah, I want to write a book or Yeah, I want to get on TED talk or whatever. Yeah. Okay. That’s all out there. And that would be great. But in the meantime, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. Yeah.

 

Bryn 

Yeah.

 

Shazar Robinson 

And allow the possibilities to

 

Shazar Robinson 

to arise. I mean, like the possibility of having a podcast with you. Hmm You know that happened to me. Yeah, yeah. Was it was that I happened to Yeah.

 

Bryn 

Yeah, exactly. It wasn’t too late to do the work it system was was really funny.

 

 

Yeah.

 

Bryn 

What do you do as part of a daily routine your practice to keep you grounded

 

Shazar Robinson 

actually is quite different here as to in India In India have a very specific practice that I do. I wake up early I meditate I drink lemon juice I, I write and then I wash my clothes because I have to do my hand clothes, washing my hand and then I get ready to clean my space and I get ready for my day. Basically, I do that in the evening. Quite Often I’ll go for a walk. And I read a lot, because I don’t watch stuff there. Yeah. Here it’s different because I have other people around me and I tend to conform to their schedules and routines as well. So things change a bit. Yeah, yeah. But still I here I walk on the beach, I swim my you know, do those things to keep myself grounded, but it’s different here because I’m a cook. Because I love to cook. But now also, I can cook in India too, because now I live in a place where I have a where I have something. I have a one burner. Yeah, and I have a small fridge and there’s a weekly Street Market outside so I can cook for myself, which is really great. So those are the things that helped me to settle into me. Because I find cooking to be really creative and to be really play, you know, let that sit ground. sort of play? Yeah.

 

Bryn 

And the last question I asked my guest is, it’s a hypothetical one, but I always find it It draws out finances is if you could take one little nugget of information and upload it into the collective consciousness and we all just get it. What would that be?

 

Shazar Robinson 

Water is sacred.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Yeah. That

 

Shazar Robinson 

if we understood that we would understand a lot of things.

 

Shazar Robinson 

That’s interesting that you asked me that because

 

Shazar Robinson 

I didn’t know that.

 

Shazar Robinson 

You know, before you asked me and I said it. I didn’t know that. That’s what I would say. Yeah.

 

Bryn 

Thank you, sir. seem to have brought something up for you.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Thank you.

 

Bryn 

If people want to reach out to you find out what you’re up to help support in any way How can they do that? can

 

Shazar Robinson 

email me they can find me. My email is info inf o at water harvest foundation.org and my phone number is over 402 double zero double 801

 

Bryn 

There you go. You’re the first guest is given out there. Awesome. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you Bryn, obviously for enjoy that many, many levels.

 

Shazar Robinson 

Thank you very much.

 

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

water, india, village, called, farmer, people, kids, river, space, shelter, symptom, give, big, organisation, transactional, money, place, work, live, head

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