These are my musings and observations on my daily life, loves and the laughter that are all a part of my experience of living now in the shires of England.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Focus through tears and touch


Certain days make you focus on the important things in life. Today was one of those days.

There are times when you become linked to people you do not know through people you know and love. 

Introductions can be difficult at the best of times but in some circumstances it’s best to remain silent. 

Sometimes, like today, the only communication is done through tears and touch.

It may not be physical – either the tears or the touch, but however you make the communication show it brings life into sharp focus.

Today I should have been in bed. I was so ill, but I needed to be elsewhere. I awoke early and got ready slowly – I have been lacking speed in the recent week due to sickness. Once ready I steeled myself for the hours ahead. No matter how hard it was for me, my physical and emotional pain would be like a drop in the ocean for the people burying their dear relative that morning.

Funerals have a way of bringing life and relationships into sharp focus.

Right there before the coffin I became a part of group of people whose truths of love and life were brought sharply into focus as if placed under a giant microscope.


Saying goodbye is hard. Showing you care can be hard, but sometimes you just have to find that way to focus that emotion so the recipient may know ... one day.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Carol - Poetry by George Mackay Brown


In the first darkness, a star bled.

The war of cloud and summit, other wounds.
Hills cupped their hands
And the rain shone over knuckles of rock and dropped to the
            sources.

Precious that well-hoard.
The priests gathered in secret jars
Lustrations for the passionate and the dead.

You were blessed, young tree
With one apple.
Far on you must bear five godwounds, prefigured and red.

The deer runs on, runs on, swiftly runs on
Before bird and arrow,
Then bends, obedient to the arrow, its branching head.

A hunter’s hand has broken the wild grape
To stain and seed.
And the hunter’s hill opened with a green sound,
A stalk of corn,
And the blacksmith took from his forge a powerful blade.

Now this, a cry in our atom-and-planet night –
A child’s wailing.
A child’s cry at the door of the House-of-Bread.


George Mackay Brown (1921 – 1996)
Taken from The Twelve Poems of Christmas, Volume Three, Selected and Introduced by Carol Ann Duffy


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

An Angel named Gareth


I know that in the traditional Christmas nativity play there is an angel named Gabriel but today I met one named Gareth. He’s a real angel who walks around the town dressed as a traffic warden.

This gentle man (in the true sense of the word) has been at the heart of many ripples in Northampton that has changed people’s lives. I met the Angel Gareth when I was sitting in my car waiting for the time to pass so I could go and meet my daughter. I was supposed to have met her before but she was late as she was in town with her friends and they forgot the appointed time. I was not pleased and decided to sit in the car to regain my focus and think how to use my time wisely. I just received a beautiful text full of love and promise and I was about to reply, then I looked up.

This is when Gareth appeared.

There was no fluttering of wings, just the rustle of protective biking gear. He wandered around the cars near me and took down registration numbers. I wound down my window. A brief exchange about me being parked legally and therefore not deserving of his attention or a ticket ensued during which time his eyes sparkled from beneath his helmet. He almost had a halo of peace and goodwill around him.



Some people you can just talk to as if you’ve known them forever. Gareth is one such person.

There was a reason why I didn’t meet up with my son at the appointed time, I was supposed to meet with this angel. He told me about how he started delivering Easter eggs to children’s homes over 10 years ago because of his desire to share happiness with others, and this random act of kindness led to over a decade of service to children (and others) throughout the county.

Sometimes we never know just how many lives our seemingly simple acts of generosity can touch, sometimes it’s better that we don’t know.

The angel Gareth told me one incident (among many that I’m sure he has in his memory) of a young man who didn’t understand why someone like him would give up his time helping other strangers. The young man rebelled against ... everything. But something in him remembered this angel, on a motorbike, delivering Easter eggs. Now, several years later, the young man is also an angel on wheels performing random acts of kindness to others.

Gareth does not just do these kind acts at Christmas, he is an all-year-around angel who helps others where and when he can.

I think that everyone should take a leaf from the Angel Gareth’s book and extend the season of goodwill to ... every day.



Saturday, 17 December 2011

Futile love exercises


What is love?

Ahh! The age old question that no one can answer with certainty or proof. Love just ... is.

Who you love is not guaranteed. There is no certainty or any specific formula to follow and get guaranteed results. Love is a mystery.  It always has been and I think it always will be.

This is why I have decided that I have had enough of attending the class ‘Futile exercise in love 101’

These sessions were aimed at educating me in how to stop loving someone I already love and also to teach me to love someone I had no connection with. What was the point? You may well ask ...

I spent some time wondering what this ‘connection’ was and I could get no clear answer.

This is where my conundrum comes in: love is both a mystery and not a mystery.

It is a mystery when it first occurs.
Love is organic, natural and magical. It just happens ... or it doesn’t. There is no formula that can be reproduced; it is unique between two people.

Love is also a mystery when you are trying to love someone you don’t love – it doesn’t work. Try to make love happen and it’s a totally different matter. It’s like reversing the natural, yet still mysterious, process of growing love, it is nigh on impossible.

This emotion, feeling, experience of love is so wonderful when a single person experiences it but so much more life-enhancing and encompassing when two people have the same sense of connection to each other.

Mysterious and ... lovely.

But yet – no mystery when you are in it. Just a marvellous sense of beauty, well being and rightness.

Mysterious and ... lovely.



Friday, 16 December 2011

Waiting



In films you sometimes see the moment of impact before it happens. Everything seems to go in slow motion. 

The knife glints, the bullet flashes and time freezes.

There seem to be moments like that in real life as well. When you are just waiting for something terrible and inevitable to become a fact ... of the present, and then – all too soon, of the past.


What I’ve found is that sometimes you have to wait for things that you don't want to happen. I always found it difficult to manage those moments. While thinking about my journey and others’ current journeys I wondered ‘how are you supposed to manage those moments?' I still don’t have any answers to give; all I have is my deepest love for those who are waiting in pain-lined days.

Like the scene in the film the first pain is expected and semi-prepared for. However, it’s the repeated aftershocks that also cause so much distress.

No one ever feels the same as anyone else when this happens. Each pain is unique. All I can offer is my love and friendship. You alone know how you feel in each moment and when you can reach out for ... anything. So I wanted you to know I am here for you if or when you need me. You remain in my heart, always.

Much love,

M.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

End of term Pied Pipers


I love people but unless I initiate it I don’t like standing up in front of a large group of people. You see, I’m easily embarrassed, especially when I’m unprepared. I guess it may be fair to say that I hate surprises ... well, most of them anyway (there are always some exceptions to every rule).

Anyway, there I was, minding my own business and helping the children when I noticed some furtive looks and smiles coming from some of the other children in different sections of the classroom. Suddenly I was called up to the front of the class as a few of them danced merrily in front of me: they were the Pied Pipers and I was following their lead. I felt like a giant suddenly – all the Year 3s seemed like little ants around my legs. Maybe it was because all their little eyes were on me and they we all in on the secret that I had no idea about.

I was thinking ‘What are they going to do?’ They’re only small people but en masse they are a formidable force. I wanted to run out and claim I had a prior appointment but I knew that wouldn’t be true or make any sense, especially when I had to face them again next term, so I stayed put and tried to exude confidence and calmness.

The lead teacher started to talk ... something about gratitude for my time and effort with them. I could hear her and see her lips moving but I was enwrapped by the shining faces in front of me and the ripples of applause that were coming from all corners of the room and settling at my feet.

They were showing me their appreciation and I was so touched I felt the usual tears start to build up in my eyes. Fighting them back I took the beautifully wrapped gift from the two pairs of outstretched arms directly in front of me. I know I was smiling and talking, but again the actual words are a complete mystery to me at the moment.

Somehow I got back to the door and, extending season’s greetings to all of them, I beat a hasty retreat. 

Feeling blessed I signed out at reception.

As I went to leave the receptionist opened the partition and smiled at me, “Did you get your chocolates from the children?” she asked gently.

“I did. Thank you.” I smiled back and pointed to my bag, “They’re in there. Thank you all very much.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Merry Christmas.”

“And to you.”

“See you next term. Take care.”

And with that final exchange I went out of the door into the cold wind but I knew that nothing would remove the glow of affection that had settled around my heart.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Sleep is a true love ...


I love to sleep. I don’t do it enough, but I plan to do more of it because it makes me feel ... happy.

When I am sad ... I like to sleep.

When I am mad ... I like to sleep.

When I cry and don’t always know why ... I like to sleep.

When I can’t think ... I need to sleep.

I curl up and wrap myself with the covers and my arms until sleep gently rocks me into bliss. I sometimes dream, but often I just float and release all the worries away from my peaceful slumber. Sleep is a medicine of unknown ingredients that always seem to work for all my ailments. It heals me, soothes me, wraps me in its arms and cradles me back to a place where I can feel again, and to that place where I know I can think, smile, dance, and love without borders.

I love sleep. Sleep loves me.



Saturday, 10 December 2011

Not invited and blissfully happy



By now you’ll have realised that I am a tad quirky and I have several encounters that I consider strange. Lord alone knows what many of you think about them ...
But, here is another one.

I was not invited to an event. I went. I had a wonderful time. The hosts were more than happy for me to be there ... seriously.

This is why ...


A birthday party was arranged. Guests were invited and the venue was prepared. I knew all about it, so I went along at the time that I knew it would start.

Hours later, after much fun, laughter, dancing, singing and playing had taken place, I left.

The following day I received a series of phone calls from the hosts, they were thanking me for being there, 
for their son’s first birthday party. I smiled and thanked them for the invitation and started to explain that I had had a great time.

They stopped me and said, “You weren’t invited ...” I didn’t know what was coming next but the laughter in the voice told me it was nothing to be ashamed of, “You don’t need to be invited,” the baby’s mother continued. “You are the same as us, you are family, we are one.” I laughed again and thanked her, but she hadn’t finished, “We will never invite you to anything as this is your home as well, you can come and go as you please. You helped us to plan it, without you it would not have been such a great success. You always make things wonderful. You play such a big part in our lives. We are one, sister, we are one!”

So, there you have it. I was not invited to an event. I went. I had a wonderful time.


Friday, 9 December 2011

Stolen identity


Every now and then I get incensed. You may have noticed it.

This time it is not just for me. I know I am often wronged, but in the main I can deal with those injustices, this time I am deeply unsettle (to put it mildly) because of the insidious creeping strategy to steal young people’s identity and disenfranchise and disenchant them with one foul swoop.

How is this done? To whom is it done?

I believe this crime is committed at school, in the shops, on the street, in youth clubs, and in homes across the country.

While in primary school, children usually retain a sense of belief in equality; they are all the same, they play together, eat lunch together and learn together.

When they are fed into the secondary school system it all changes. Many of the staff that deliver the lessons fail all the pupils because they cannot deliver information that they do not believe it. This machine of dictated and organised thinking has a fixed, out-dated model of Britain and it is devastating lives every day. The damage done at school continues throughout life. Meritocracy as an ideal is debunked at every turn, in most subjects across the spectrum. Divisions and disadvantage are taught in a formal manner and take root, like concrete boots.  

I’m talking about English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish people: British people. These British people, like me, are home but are still treated as foreigners.

When I worked in the computing and banking industries my CVs often when ahead of my interviews. There were many occasions when the interviewers – without disguise – said, in total shock, “But ... you’re black! From your CV I thought ...” I got used to it, however, the painfulness of the blows left deep marks especially as despite my outstanding qualifications and experience I didn’t get the positions I went for.




Nowadays the scenarios are being repeated, with subtle tuning changes. Some young people are told that they can’t be English because their skin colour is not white: the perpetrators of these lies (teachers and other pupils) are infrequently and ineffectively challenged. The children whose identity has been attacked are now in a state of flux. They have been taught to believe all they hear at school. Can this be right, they don’t belong here? If that is true where do they belong?

This is particularly true for those children with a mixed cultural heritage, if they try to align themselves to people darker than them they are told, “You’re not black enough”. If they try to align themselves with people lighter than them they are told, “You’re too black.”

They will eventually make their own tribe and fashion their own uniquely British identity and woe betide anyone who stands in their way. When you deny a person their identity and remove it by stealth you will be faced with uncontrollable fury.

Self identification and alignment is at the root of most wars and always comes with a heavy price – especially civil wars.

It is time all British people accepted that there is black in the Union Jack!
















Thursday, 8 December 2011

Accepting Loss


When do we get taught about accepting loss? When we have lost someone or something and everything is raw with pain? Surely there must be a better way.

Why aren’t we taught about dealing with loss when we are young? Maybe that’s one of the good reason why children have pets because it helps them to deal with loss – not that I am wishing the death of anyone’s pet on them at an early age, but I’m sure you get my meaning.

So, how do we learn to accept loss?

Eckhart Tolle suggests there are only three rational choices to any situation: change it (if possible), walk away (if you are able to) or accept it (and love it) exactly as it is.

The final choice, of accepting things as they are – and imagining that we had chosen that situation – is the best mental choice for dealing with loss. I’m not saying that we would willingly choose loss, all I am saying is that once it has occurred (and we can do nothing about it) there will be a more positive outcome if we accept it (the loving the loss may come at a later stage ... if it ever does).

Some days I am at peace with all my losses, other days are not quite so easy but I am getting there and that’s all I can ask of myself right now.


Loss 
by Chris Zuppa













Tuesday, 6 December 2011

It’s heavy ...


Sometimes the heaviest things that I have ever carried are my thoughts.


I sometimes wonder what I should do with these weighty opinions that press down on me. When someone asks me to share them, I wonder if I really should.

Can I risk lightening my load? (It sounds silly when put like that, after all, who wouldn’t want to take pressure off themselves?)

Then I remember the phrase, “Follow your instincts, you’ll be fine!” and I do, and I am.

It’s so much lighter now.

Now. Then. Always.


Now
            I am looking forward
            but I have to look back ...
            and I realise that
Then
            some people never had
            a hint
            of the degree
            of affection that I’ll
Always
            have for them.

            It’s my gift of love
            to them
            that I’ll keep in my
            heart.

            Now.
            Then.
            Always.


© MHMorgan 2011 


Saturday, 3 December 2011

Sometimes I am a sheep ...


It’s getting cold and nobody likes to be standing outside longer than necessary, so I don’t quite understand how the following scenario happened – especially as I am a person who is none too fond of the cold.

I went to the cash point at the rear of the store, there were two machines but people were snaking behind just one of them. I joined them.

I stood there looking at ... nothing in particular while moving from foot to foot in an attempt to keep warm - in the way that queue members do. The people at the head of the queue seemed to be taking an exceptionally long time at the machine. I looked over to the other one, there wasn’t a sign on it saying it wasn’t working, but I still stayed where I was.

Then we moved forwards. I was still cold and as I moved closed I peered even more at the other machine. I still couldn’t see any sign (as if I thought it would materialise as I got closer!).

Other people came and joined the queue.

The man who was behind me cleared his throat and spoke, I looked around at him. “Is the other machine not working?” he asked. The question in my mind was voiced.

I laughed as I said to him, “I don’t know. I’m just a sheep! I saw the queue and joined it.”

The woman in front of me also turned and started laughing. “Me too!” she smiled at us, “I’m not sure, I did the same.”

The man who spoke up repeated his question to the person leaving the head of the queue. “No,” the departing person confirmed, “it’s not working.” Someone then felt brave enough to approach the cashpoint and said, “No, the card reader is damaged.”

With a sigh of relief we all settled back down into our English reserve and resumed our quiet places in the queue feeling justified that we hadn’t broken queuing protocol.   



Sometimes I feel like a sheep but sometimes I just know I’m so English! We love our quiet queuing. 

Friday, 2 December 2011

It’s a blessing and a curse ...



This is a familiar line from the Monk detective series. Adrian Monk is usually talking about his skills as a detective - who happens to have OCD.

I have been thinking about something rather different: beauty.

Is the gift of beauty a blessing or a curse?

I’ve heard that it is advisable to use beauty as a business and career asset. What do you think? Have you done it? Does your CV or Resume have - listed under transferrable skills and assets - the legend beauty shown?

I have just been wondering how, if you are beautiful, you go about enhancing this attribute to your best advantage, you know, for rapid career progression.

I know many beautiful people and they have said that being seen as attractive is more often than not a curse because they suffer from the lack of genuine observation of their intelligence or their personality.

They sometimes wish their gift of beauty away or hide it beneath clothes and behaviour. Is this fair?

This made me think about what else, as a natural phenomenon could be used as a business asset?

Should any birthright be cultivated for a career? Maybe Tyra Banks could give me some answers on this ... then more people could become the Top Model in their particular field.  














Thursday, 1 December 2011

Icebergs, ropes and sunshine

I remember being stuck behind an emotional iceberg for a long time and I became very familiar with the terrain. It is because of this journey that I am now able to recognise when others may be in the same position as I was in all that time.


I did, however, managed to escape so now I provide a search and rescue service to those who want or need it.

When I recently realised that a dear friend was trapped behind their own emotional iceberg I mustered up all my strength and threw a lifeline of love out to them; it appeared on their side of the iceberg as a sturdy rope that they grabbed, tied firmly around their body and started to move forwards.


What we both realised, as time passed, was that the sun was shining onto the top of the iceberg and it was melting thereby making the height of the blockade shrink with every forward step.

When they had fully emerged into the sunlight I was told that being sent the lifeline of love and hope was an act of beauty in the midst of desolation as they needed to know that they were loved but, at that time, they were unable to reach out for help.

Sometimes we are behind the icebergs ourselves, other times we have the ropes and sunshine on our side so we must use them to rescue others from their despair. 













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