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.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Leap Day Resolutions


All over the British Isles people have been taking part in Leap Day activities and making Leap Day resolutions. Well, that’s what they’ve said on some news programmes that I’ve been listening to this month.


This got me wondering about what times of leaps I would be prepared to take this special day. Tradition has it that women can be the one to propose on this day and if rejected they must be provided with twelve pairs of gloves (so that they can hide their ring less hands all the year around). This, and other traditions have made me smile as I have thought about what I can and will do with this extra day of the month.

I already wear gloves, but not to hide the lack of any rings, more to ward of the bitter winds and cold. So I rejected that idea that would make me the recipient of a dozen pairs of gloves (and my proposal has already been accepted, so it was not necessary on this particular day anyway).

A friend of mine indicated that he was waiting for my proposal to him, but he did send the message from his fortified bunker in the middle of nowhere so I knew that he was not really open to any approach from me. Nevertheless, we can continue to live in hope. Isn’t that right P?

Anyway, back to reality. The radio programmes were encouraging people to take advantage of the extra day in February and use it as an excuse to do something they had never done before. And many did. One woman, who was blind, enjoyed her first tandembike ride; a man, who suffers from panic attacks, depression and agoraphobia, travelled on a bus to a local town for the first time in four years. Another man told his colleagues that he is gay and has been with his partner for nearly 20 years. At several schools the children, teachers and support staff leapt to different classrooms for lessons and undertook each others’ roles for an hour.

There have been so many leaps.

But, here’s a gift for you, you don’t have to wait for another 4 years to make your own leap – you can do it now! But you knew that, didn’t you?



It’ll be great to share what extraordinary leaps you’ve taken. Feel free to let me know about your daily or yearly leaps and I’ll keep telling you about mine: it’s only fair.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Locked in


Prisons are not places that people usually choose to go to. However, some people who have relative freedom can find themselves locked into certain prisons.

I have discovered that there are situations where fear can imprison you and you remain as securely isolated as if you were being prevented from escaping by bars, locked doors and armed guards in surveillance towers.

Poverty is also a way of efficiently preventing people from moving from their current situations. Some circumstances can be altered by sheer will power, others may need more assistance.

If there is a way out of incarceration I’m always going to take it. I will make my own escape plan and  - if the opportunity arises – I will work with others to leave the cells of destruction, but I will not remain locked in - it’s not healthy.


Monday, 27 February 2012

Qualities and Blessings


There are times in life when we cannot see our own wonderful qualities. This is where others come into the picture. (You could also use a mirror to physically look at yourself or the mental reflective mirror is also useful to discover these qualities.)

In case you are having difficulties pinpointing one right now I am going to provide a starting list of qualities and suggest you pick any one of them, because I know they are all relevant to you. Go on, try this, it’ll be fun and revealing.

Qualities:
Strength                      Politeness                    Kindness                     Sincerity
Honesty                       Humility                       Charity                         Civility
Courteous                   Sympathy                    Empathy                      Compassion
Altruism                       Wisdom                      Judgement                   Enthusiasm
Focus                          Respect                      Awareness                   Attentiveness
Patience                      Punctuality                  Flexibility                      Self-control
Resourcefulness        Discretion                   Determination               Sensitivity

I could go on, but I’m sure you’ve picked out more than a hand-full already. But you only need one for this part of the exercise, you can go back and do it again later with another one. That proves how many wonderful qualities you have already from this incomplete starter list.

The next thing to do is to create for yourself a blessing using the handy blessing template I have provided below:

It’s a one-size-fits-all template – all you have to do is to fill in the sections after putting your chosen quality in the first section. For example, “I accept for myself the gift of ... strength.”

I think you’ll be able to do the rest on your own.

Enjoy your qualities and your blessings. Remember to repeat this exercise regularly for a good outlook on your life.

You deserve your blessings because ... you have the qualities and you’re worth it!




Create a blessing

I accept for myself the gift of ....................................................................................

I experience its power to be present in my life as .....................................................
...................................................................................................................................

May it enable me to change ......................................................................................
...................................................................................................................................

And may it bring me the deep experience of ............................................................
...................................................................................................................................









Sunday, 26 February 2012

Using your imagination


How can you use your imagination? Let me count the ways ...

While you’re off counting your own ways to use your imagination I’d like to share something with you. Don’t worry, it’ll still be here when you’ve finished.

You see, I’ve been blessed with information that I am honour (love) bound to share with you all. It’s about using your imagination for spiritual progress. I attended a seminar about just that topic. It was a reminder of what we have inside of us and how we can best use it to assist our spiritual journey. It was a wonderful few hours in tranquil surroundings. 

As I said, I cannot keep this information to myself, so here it is for you to take with you on your own spiritual journey. I am sharing the gift I received with you – I know, I’m generous. You can thank me later ...

Because imagination is the central force of change, I think we should all invest more time into using it. Here are a few nuggets to get your own imaginative juices flowing as you take steps on your way today. Have fun.


I          “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Albert Einstein
            Imagination is a private place, no one else can be in my imagination
– not even by invitation: it is mine, alone.

M       Meditation
            When you take time to listen to yourself and God you can increase your creativity.
When we give ourselves up to creativity, we open ourselves up to G.O.D.
            Good Orderly Direction

A        Active Imagination and Active Listening
            To be an active listener we need to “switch off the self”.
            Listen with your ears, eyes, heart and imagination. Listen to the whole person.

G        Gratitude
            Inspect your baggage and see what you’ve already got.
            Make a gratitude list.
Start with 20 and see how many you get. More than you thought? Be grateful.

I          Images that inspire
            Find and use images that inspire you.
Go for a walk, go to a museum, look at photographs.
       
N        Nature is a great opportunity for exercising the imagination
            Select anything you find and look at it, really look at it and think about it.

A        Award yourself a blessing
            This may seem difficult at first but it’s not.
Think of a quality, any one and make yourself a blessing from it

T         Ticket to Ride
            Your imagination is your ticket to ... anywhere. You can go where you like.
            Time
            Make time to ... be at peace. Start with a minute. You have a minute, surely?
            Change your thinking and change your life in just-a-minute 

I          Imagine a world ... as it could be, as it should be.
            Change your world and you change the whole world. Imagine that.
            Smile more, be cooperative, practice total acceptance, forgive and be truthful.
            What a difference those few things make in the world.

O       Open-minded
           Be open-minded and think about what is in the way of your own spiritual progress.
           Open yourself to help to surmount the obstacles.
           Imagine what it would be like if your dreams came true.

N     Now - right now!
           Now is a good time to make the change and really start using your imagination.


“With imagination you can free yourself from the chains of your own solitary perceived reality.”
 Davina Lloyd

“Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun.”
George Scialabba


Saturday, 25 February 2012

Let us pray for those who try - Poetry by Ken Walsh


We so often pray
For people in trouble.

Let us pray also
For the loving,
The joyful,
The kind and
The courageous.

Ken Walsh (From his collection – Sometimes I Weep)

Friday, 24 February 2012

Nonsense!


In a world primarily focussed on binary opposites it is understood that the contradictory position of sense is nonsense.

Nonsense is meaningless gibberish (isn't it?) – whether communicated in words or signs. This leads to incoherence (doesn't it?). Just look at how Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland progress and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

There are times when all that once seemed sensible and logical no longer appears that way. It all becomes nonsense.


This is a great opportunity to use your imagination; to see things another way. It’s a risk, that’s true, but it’s one that is worth taking I think.

Imagination hold so many possibilities – ask any child at play, they’ll show you how. What at first seems like nonsense may highlight certain previously undiscovered ideas. I plan to embrace nonsense!

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life's realities.

Theodore Seuss Geisel (Dr Seuss)

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Funeral Blues - Poetry by W H Auden


Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public
    doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


W H Auden



Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Survive and thrive


Trauma is no respecter of gender, creed, ‘race’, sexuality, continent, weather system ... you get my drift? 

When trauma arrives it does not first check any passport or identity document, it is swift and uncompromising in its severity. Trauma sweeps through all real or imagined borders.

It is like being picked up from your everyday life and sucked into the centre of a whirlwind only to be unceremoniously thrown from there and landing in a confused state of mind and body somewhere else. I’d compare it to suddenly awakening in the middle of an Olympic hurdles final in a wheel chair. Flummoxed and confused you reel from side to side trying to regain your balance and negotiate the obstacles in front of you. 

You can see what you ought to do, but the first thought is that everything from thereon in is impossible.

Having been traumatised in the past I know that it is all one can do to try to breathe - much less to figure out how to progress from this moment to the next. Nevertheless, the survival instinct does eventually kick in and you decide to endure. You find or make your own way through. This is when you regain your ability to be extraordinary. This is the first moment of triumph in your new reality. 


I am blessed that I have found many more such moments.

I am now thriving. Following my survival of the traumatic events I bore through the pain and made it to today where I can say “It’s good to survive and thrive”. Doing otherwise was never really an option for very long.

My life is blessed.

I am constantly awed by other people who have also experienced their own traumas and keep on keeping on. People like Beverly Kearney, the track and field coach who suffered severe injury but refused to give in to defeat. I have seen images of her in her hospital bed and trackside in her wheelchair as she coached her team to repeated victories. She never gave up, she too, survived and thrived.

Each one of us faces our own traumas. They may never be the same as mine or Beverly Kearney’s but they are traumatic in each individual life. We can survive and thrive, it all starts with the will to do so. We have to keep on trying.



And when people ask me ‘how is it that you have succeeded in spite of your obstacles?’ And you know what I tell them? ‘I don’t have a choice.’ I don’t have a choice. Because my hero is my history, and my history is a legacy of people who have triumphed over tragedy, who have succeeded in spite of the oppression. How can I fail because they have taught me failure is not an option.”  
Beverly Kearney

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

In the Ark


Many people are familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark – even those who have no religious inclination know this tale.

I had reason to reconsider what it was like inside the ark when I was away from familiar surroundings earlier this week. I was not scared because of any end of the world prophecy neither was I about to be covered in a deluge of water – although it had been raining earlier that day. No, rather than that, I was thinking of the amount of love and joy that was in that structure. There was a feeling of connection, purpose and shared future right there. It weaved itself between smiles, hugs and handshakes. Everyone was joined together by an invisible but strong thread of love. I was sat inside a pub (an unusual location for me on any given day, especially a Monday afternoon), nevertheless I was aware of the way I was feeling whilst there.

Inside that pub, remote from my home, I felt more at peace and comfortable – no doubt, like the original inhabitants of the ark – than I do when I attend my weekly church service. That fact disturbed me, merely because of the alienation from peace that accompanies me in the company of people who profess to be Christians but often show habits that would not be out of place in an SS meeting.

The family and friends gathered in that pub were mostly strangers to me, yet they were genuinely warm and welcoming to me. I felt at home. I felt safe in the pub that became my ark for the afternoon.


I will continue to find safety in the mobile ark that I am constructing – according to God’s plans for my life, and I hope that I will someday replicate that feeling of safety that I experienced in the pub in more places that I frequent, especially my weekly church attendance.


Monday, 20 February 2012

Expressions of me


Each performance, race, book, word and smile is an expression of a unique part of its creator. You and I are constantly creating exclusive representations of our beings with every act.

What unique memory of you are you sharing right now?


Sunday, 19 February 2012

Are disguises ever good?


To truly disguise yourself you have to be believable as the person you are pretending to be. You have to hide your real self and become the projected self.

The master of disguises is adept at observation and mimicry. They are skilled at the process of transformation. 

Me

People who practise the art of disguise with regularity are skilled human chemists who practice their talents long enough to become alchemists – effecting a complete transformation from one state to another, from one being to another.

When reading about actors and artists who use disguises as a form of performance, as a show, I asked myself a series of questions. One that I was unable to resolve was, ‘Why would someone want to retain a disguise instead of being themselves?’ It is a prickly question that is often difficult to answer. I’m guessing that at some point the existence is no longer a disguise but it becomes the new reality of being. This fluidity of being - of identity - is not a disguise. I think it is a period of change and of growth.

At times like this I feel that the disguise serves the purpose of a cloak - to hide the real work going on out of sight.

So, are disguises ever good? Maybe they are if they lead to positive permanent change. But as a means to hurt or deceive others or self, I’d have to say that everything that is disguised is designed to hide the truth of the moment and should therefore be avoided. But, how are you to know what is the truth or a facade?

I’m looking for a litmus test for this question and as soon as I find it I’ll pass the information on to you.

For now my conclusion is that disguises are a way of seeing and of being seen. Maybe all parts of us that are revealed in this way are simply aspects of us that we were previously unable to show but through the mask of identity camouflage we are set free.

“Disguises can be liberating ... [you can mutate] into the objects of ... [your] fascination. Ms Sherman takes a detailed interest in others while mastering the art of making it up.”  (Article on Cindy Sherman, reclusive photographer and artist.)


Saturday, 18 February 2012

Home Bird


I am a home bird that loves to travel. An enigma? It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been referred to in that way.

My home environment gives me peace and happiness, therefore I’m bound to enjoy it. I also love to travel – both locally within the country and globally. There are a few things that can get me to travel, well, the truth of it is there are a few people that can get me to travel to see them without a second thought. I love to spend time with them, where they are, or to have them with me.

I remember travelling thousands of miles on my own – without telling anyone else (apart from the person I was going to be with) until I boarded the plane - just because of love. It’s easy to do.

For years I have stayed close to home, making my nest. Then there was the fluttering of my heart followed by the fluttering of my wings and the inevitable flights away from the nest. It’s easy to do.

When you want something enough, you make a way. You figure it out. You have to.

We always move towards that which interests us. Our actions and hesitations are evidence of our desires.

“Movement illustrates the intentions and the interest of the person who is moving.”
Édouard Lock (Founder of La La La Human Steps – Canada)


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Sewer life


This could be my weekly ‘How dare you?!!’ piece.

Things people don’t understand they either destroy or hide from their view. By labelling someone or something as different and less than desirable it seems to make for the sanitised view of the world that they seek.

All fears are labelled grotesque and monstrous and war is declared with them. This could be outright murder and genocide or more subtle means of annihilation. You see, there are other means of destroying people, ideas and places as well. The ruling powers can either hide them away (metaphorically in the closet) or flush them away in a sewage-like system.

This is the way life is for many visible minorities that the ruling homogeneous groups want to achieve. You may be a Muslim in a predominantly Christian world, you may be homosexual in a mainly heterosexual world, you may be African in a mostly European world, whatever the difference that is abhorred the result will be the same: a systematic rite of ‘cleansing’.

If you take time to look at the sewage systems of most developed countries you will discover that it is the home for unwanted items of the everyday so-called civilised society. It is where things are dumped and remain ‘out of sight and out of mind’. Sewage systems are usually designed to function below the surface of the ‘usual’ everyday behaviour.  

When people want to condemn you and your ordinary life to the sewers I believe you have a right to stand up and shout, “How dare you?!!”



Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Take my hand


When these words are spoken it is a gift, an opportunity to trust and make a firm connection. At the time you reach for someone’s hand, and they take yours in return, there is a period of mutual exchange occurring.

There is the gift of comfort; there is the willingness to connect; there is the desire to lead and to guide; there is the faith to be led. Taking someone’s hand is a symbol of trust.

In my hand I hold my heart.

When I take someone’s hand we hold our hearts together.


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Love is ...


Love is ... in the air.

Love is everywhere – especially today.

Love is different things to different people. But in all of those varying expressions I think love always means some type of connection to someone else.

My vision of love is explained in a word, a touch, or a look. Love is the simplest and most complicated concept I have ever encountered. It is magical. It is mysterious. Yet it is beautifully simple at the same time.

I have been referred to as an enigma, but I am easily understood by those I love and those who love me. To those who don’t believe that love is a basic human right for all people I’d suggest that they have never truly understood the concept of love or been without it. To deny love to people is not an act of love.

My truth about love comes from the most permanent relationship I have ever had – with God. God is love.

That is my template for all love that I experience.

Love is ... in the air.

(It’s even in this stone I found in Cyprus many years ago.)

Monday, 13 February 2012

Mean


Does being mean cause pain? I contest that it does. Some folk will respond with that age old rhyme of ‘Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me,’ but they are wrong, names do hurt and sometimes they are the final straw that causes someone to tip over the edge.

Does that mean we can’t have fun? No, it doesn’t. But there is a big difference between having fun and being mean and I’m sure that we all know the difference ... especially when the meanness is directed at us.  

There was an episode on a TV show where a girl blogged about her classmate: it was quite simply a case of cyber-bullying. The classmate eventually committed suicide because of the social pressure and negative attention she was receiving from her fellow students as a result of the meanness started from the blogs. In this particular episode of Harry’s Law (s2, ep 4) it was argued that meanness is part of everyday life and that we can’t all be held responsible for the subsequent actions of people just because we have contributed some mean act to their life and day.



The lawyers argued that newspapers portray meanness on a daily basis, as do politicians and other public figures. This does not make it right although it has become an accepted, nay normal, part of everyday life.

I think that it’s better to be kind than mean. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I prefer to receive kindness than meanness. I’m sure I’m not the only one.



Meanness causes pain, and often leads to death. That’s the truth. 

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Vashti – A Strong Woman


Some women (and men) stand up for their convictions whatever the consequences. Thus it was with Vashti.

I believe she may have been the first feminist recorded in the Bible. Vashti was queen, and the story goes that while her husband, King Ahasuerus, was feasting with all his princes and noblemen she was entertaining the visiting women with another feast in the royal house. However, Vashti was not destined to remain as the queen for long because she thought for herself and followed her personal beliefs in a very public manner that came to be viewed as open dissent.

The results of her behaviour were far-reaching. Vashti was eventually replaced as queen by Esther because she refused to appear before the king and all his guests when she was summoned. She knew the consequences of refusal. She paid the price. With her refusal to use her beauty and sexuality as a public commodity Vashti shows dignity and strength of character.

King Ahasuerus did not see her actions in the same light. When Vashti humiliated the king when she declined to obey him, he sought counsel from his courtiers. They recommended that Vashti be dealt with immediately and harshly because they were afraid that all the other women of the kingdom and provinces would follow her lead and be independently-minded in their choices – without regard to the demands of their husbands. This possibility obviously frightened them all. They believed that her actions were in danger of being copied therefore the consequences had to be hard.  King Ahasuerus followed the advice of these men and removed Vashti as queen.

Just to make sure that her actions were not copied the king also sent a command to all parts of his kingdom instructing that all men should ensure they were in complete charge in their own households. Vashti’s influence spread quickly. The king tried to crush it.

Vashti was one of the first of many strong women recorded in the Bible.



Vashti disobeyed a royal command and was punished. Some Jewish literature says that she was asked to appear before nude, wearing only her royal crown, in front of king Ahasuerus and his drunken guests. Other records say that she declined to appear because she had contracted leprosy. Whatever the reason the common thread in all the stories is her refusal to obey the most important man of the known world at that time.

If this happened today, it would be on Twitter and Facebook in seconds. “Queen Vashti refused to attend to King Ahasuerus at royal banquet! He’s well mad now. With his advisors deciding what to do. Not good. Goner.

King Ahasuerus was having none of it. Hence his reaction to punish and banish Queen Vashti. Vashti was dethroned and stripped of all her royal privileges, however, she was not killed because three years later, the king thought about reinstating her as queen. But his advisors suggested that he look for another young queen instead.

King Ahasuerus liked the idea and Vashti was soon replaced by Esther.

Despite her unceremonious departure from the top of the social ladder Vashti’s legacy of strength and heroism lives on. She paid a huge price for her convictions and she left a record of strength for women of all ages to remember.

(I was at church this week and the story of Esther was told with gusto. Vashti was mentioned as a bit-character in the larger story but I thought that without her strong stand Esther would never have had her day in the limelight. I am therefore giving Vashti some well-deserved recognition for her role as a strong and dignified woman, as a feminist.)

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Goodbye isn’t easy


Saying Goodbye isn’t easy especially when you have watched someone suffer before they fall asleep that final time. Sometimes there aren’t enough words to say what you feel at the time. On other occasion there isn’t adequate time to convey the deepest sentiments.

There are, however, some opportunities to spend time in peace and quiet with a loved one and share a gentle farewell. Those who have this may feel blessed, but I’m sure that they may still feel there isn’t enough time.

It may never be enough where love is central. I understand that.

And afterwards, when the final goodbyes have been shared, the chasm may seem un-breachable because everywhere you look or move there is unbearable pain and a sense of unfathomable loss. Goodbyes are eternally hard.



I’ve been writing this for weeks and been unable to finish it. Maybe I’m also having a hard time with the particular parting that has been on my mind for a while. It could be that it reminds me of all the others.

I tried to write again, but was unable to. I put it down and focussed on something else. Then I heard that since I revisited this topic today another precious soul has gone to sleep.

Although she did not have any part in the British-Caribbean tradition wherein I grew up, I am using this opportunity to say those familiar words used at traditional graveside partings, “Good night, dear friend. I’ll see you in the morning.”


Friday, 10 February 2012

Personal Life Lessons




I meet strangers all the time, but they do not often stay strangers. Frequently they become friends. Even those people that I meet only once have an effect on my life. Sometimes I am fortunate to have two visits with particularly special people and in those brief moments I learn some of the greatest of my personal life lessons.

I know that as I touch them, they also touch me. I hope that my impact in their lives is wholly positive, but I am not naive enough to think that I only leave the memory of perfume and roses in my wake. However, I will continue to pray that my contribution to the lives of those I am in contact with will be primarily beneficial.

Years may pass before we realise the impact a particular person or event has had in our lives, or it can be instantaneous. Each life is important, each person we meet is as important as we are. We are constantly teachers – to ourselves and others, and students.

We have daily personal life lessons to learn and live.

“Every life is a contribution. We may not see how ... Everyone comes into our lives for a reason, and it is our responsibility to learn what they have to teach us.”
Six Feet Under s2,ep5

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Negro Mother - Poetry by Langston Hughes

The Negro Mother

Children, I come back today 
To tell you a story of the long dark way 
That I had to climb, that I had to know 
In order that the race might live and grow. 
Look at my face -- dark as the night -- 
Yet shining like the sun with love's true light. 
I am the dark girl who crossed the red sea 
Carrying in my body the seed of the free. 
I am the woman who worked in the field 
Bringing the cotton and the corn to yield. 
I am the one who labored as a slave, 
Beaten and mistreated for the work that I gave -- 
Children sold away from me, I'm husband sold, too. 
No safety , no love, no respect was I due.

Three hundred years in the deepest South: 
But God put a song and a prayer in my mouth . 
God put a dream like steel in my soul. 
Now, through my children, I'm reaching the goal. 

Now, through my children, young and free, 
I realized the blessing deed to me. 
I couldn't read then. I couldn't write. 
I had nothing, back there in the night. 
Sometimes, the valley was filled with tears, 
But I kept trudging on through the lonely years. 
Sometimes, the road was hot with the sun, 
But I had to keep on till my work was done: 
I had to keep on! No stopping for me -- 
I was the seed of the coming Free. 
I nourished the dream that nothing could smother 
Deep in my breast -- the Negro mother. 
I had only hope then , but now through you, 
Dark ones of today, my dreams must come true: 
All you dark children in the world out there, 
Remember my sweat, my pain, my despair. 
Remember my years, heavy with sorrow -- 
And make of those years a torch for tomorrow. 
Make of my pass a road to the light 
Out of the darkness, the ignorance, the night. 
Lift high my banner out of the dust. 
Stand like free men supporting my trust. 
Believe in the right, let none push you back. 
Remember the whip and the slaver's track. 
Remember how the strong in struggle and strife 
Still bar you the way, and deny you life -- 
But march ever forward, breaking down bars. 
Look ever upward at the sun and the stars. 
Oh, my dark children, may my dreams and my prayers 
Impel you forever up the great stairs -- 
For I will be with you till no white brother 
Dares keep down the children of the Negro Mother. 

(Langston Hughes)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Dreams



I have a dream. I am making it a reality.

Dreaming is often frowned upon by those without their own dreams. Joseph was a dreamer. His brothers tried to get rid of him but he ended up fulfilling his destiny and saving his whole family from starvation.

My bookshelves are full of stories of people who dared to dream and act. They made a difference and made their dreams come true.

I am writing the script to my own dream. My life is not a work of fiction but it is my life story. I am moulding it so the end is what I would like to see. I’m trying to make my dream a reality.

Are you?

“Dreams are good for you. People need to dream.” Shutter Island (2010)

Monday, 6 February 2012

Fashionable me?



I am not a follower of fashion. I have never wondered why because I know that I like what I like, not just what is currently popular with the masses. I have never been a sheep.

When you really think about it anything fashionable is designed to pass away quickly. That is the nature of fashion. One moment it is the ‘must have’, the next it is the ‘has been’. This fact made me wonder why people are so obsessed with something that is so transitory.


My interest in people and things is not a fashion trend. I am in it for the duration.

This means that even when others have lost interest and moved on to the next big thing, I’ll still be there – sticking to what suits me, not being sucked into the current fad of the moment. I will retain friendships that seem unfashionable because a friendship goes beyond fashion. A friendship is real and durable through changing 
fancies or prevailing moods.

I am real and if that means I am seen as unfashionable, then so be it.

Amen.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Big People


When I was a child I remember my parents used to go into the sacred ‘front room’ and close the door when we had certain visitors. Well, I mean when they had visitors. Their friends and relatives would be shown into the best room and we, as children would be left outside.

If we dared to venture in to the room while they were talking we would be shooed out again especially if we dared to speak. It paid to be like the embossed flowery wallpaper – obviously there, but after a while unnoticed.

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When we spoke it was like being at a tennis match, all heads turned to us and a chorus of dissent reached our ears. This was sometime accompanied by a slap if the interruption was way out of place.

The words that were slapped into our bare legs were invariably some variation of, “Big people are talking!”

As we retreated to the dining room or garden I think we children wondered how the ‘big people’ always got their own way and got to make all the decisions.

It came to me the other day that all those people are now gone or going. A friend was talking about the death of her father’s best friend. I recently attended the funeral of another friend’s father, there is death all around and it has sadly become an intimate associate in recent times. All the ‘big people’ I knew have gone or are currently going.

It hurts. It really hurts.

The most recent departure of a loved one has made me realise that we are the big people now. We have to support and comfort each other as we journey on. We have to make the decisions.

It does hurt, but we will make it through. Together.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

World Cancer Day


World Cancer Day - this is marked annually as a worldwide event on the 4th February.

I never knew that it existed before this year. The day, I mean, not cancer.

I’m sure we are all aware of cancer and people it has affected, people it is affecting right now. I know of cancer survivors. I also know of those who have not survived against the illness or who are currently undergoing treatment. Cancer makes me sad beyond expression.

All illness, especially cancer – because of its aggressive nature against the body, reminds me that we have to really delight in life right now. We have to enjoy the moments that we have and fill them with pleasure because tomorrow is not promised to us.

Sorry if that’s too heavy for you right now, but it’s real.

There are things that we can do to prevent some illnesses and if we can stop cancer in our bodies then I think we should. I will do my best for myself and my beloved child, I hope you will do your best for you and yours.

I may already know you, but if I don’t that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about you – I do. I want everyone of us to live the best life possible, in the best health possible. As Lance Armstrong says, Live Strong.




A Canadian short film to mark World Cancer Day:  My Healing Journey: Seven Years with Cancer, Joseph Viszmeg.

Amazing, inspiring, life-changing. 

Shared because I care.


Friday, 3 February 2012

Connections


Some connections are impossible to break. At least that’s what I feel.

A friend of mine gave me an example of this when we were talking the other day. We all hope our relationships will last forever, but sometimes cracks begin to show that cause you to think. It may just be that she is a mother of several children that she says this, but I think it runs deeper than that.

I was hugging her good bye and she repeated her usual comment to me about her family. “We are all one,” she said, “you are my family. I am here because of you. I love you and my children love you.”

I smiled a warm smile back at her as we parted.

We had been talking about so many things – as good conversations do and one of the topics was her relationship with her partner. I said he was a lovely man and she smiled and said, “Yes, he is, but that’s only the side he likes to show to people. Behind the scenes it’s different.”

I was shocked. She could see the disbelief on my face. “But, “ I stammered, “but ...”

“He is a good man,” she said, “and I love him but ...”

I waited for her to finish the sentence. I didn’t have any words that would fit into that heavy space that was now between us.

She smiled then, hugging me again she said, “We all have to be happy. In here.” She pointed to her heart. I nodded and murmured my agreement. I knew there was something else she wanted to say, so I hesitated from going towards the door. Taking a step closer to me, she said, almost casually, “I can’t love one man and leave the care of my children. He can go at any time. They remain forever.  They are mine.”

Deep connections remain deep.


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