“Human presence is a creative and turbulent sacrament, a visible sign of invisible grace”. John O'Donohue

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Compassion and Righteousness

I am scared.

It  has - unusually  - taken me a while to really notice and feel into  this. It is my body's familiar and oh so deeply patterned response to... well... just to the world.

But decades of somatic learning, embodied practice, therapy, medication and many dark nights of the soul have allowed me to notice and understand and self regulate to the extent that I am seen, by myself and others as a calm voice of reason, a mediator, a measured awareness amidst reactions. I have no idea how I got here, but the cap seems to  fit, and I wear it with grace (mostly) I am flawed, I am weird, but I seem to do this well. 

I have stepped into that role of late, as I see hate played out around me. The visceral reactions of those who feel the fear and trauma of the death throes of an old paradigm, indeed multiple layered paradigms of victimhood and oppression, of prejudice, injustice, mistrust and plain old hate. We are all feeling it. It is being played out  on the world stage and in the echo-chambered bear pits of social media. The language of hate abounds. The perpetrators don't even know that is what they are extolling because our own personal brand of hatred is always more justified than the enemy's.  Always. Righteousness is blind to the realities of others. Sometimes to Reality itself. 

And nothing hurts more than the truth.

Simultaneously we see the rise of the voices of alt:right, MRA and SJW. Conveniently labelled and acronymed metaphors for  those who are desperately clinging to their trusted ways of seeing the world, themselves and their relationships. Even if the trusted ways are deep with pain and mistrust, they are known. And letting go is hard. These are the voices of pain and trauma.  Centuries of oppression and suppression have lain deep grooves of woundedness in the collective consciousness. And there doesn't seem to be much space in there right now for love. 

And yet, naive as it may sound, love is what is required. Notice how I feel I have to justify my use of the word?

Yes. Love.

Love enough to listen. Love enough to see beyond the voice an into the humanity of the person behind it. The voices silently but loudly screaming:

"I am scared" 
"I am scared of you" 
"I don't want to be a victim any more"
"I don't know how not to be a victim"
"I am angry"
"I don't know how not to be angry"
"I don't want to lose my power."
"I don't want to be at war."
"War is all I know"


As I write, I feel the fear rising because I know to speak to this, to put this out into the public domain may well court some of the viciousness I have witnessed. I have already been considered naive, I have be told that if I was more  educated, I would understand. (on this note, it is always worth checking out the background of the person you are arguing with!)  I have been told to read some books (!!!) I have been accused of sleeping with the enemy. I am not a good enough feminist because I actively listen to the wounded  and angry voices of men. I am a Feminazi because I speak out about the ongoing oppression of women. I am not a good enough socialist because I am prepared to have conversations with conservatives. I am dismissed as a leftie because I am vocal about social justice.  

I have been called ugly and stupid. I have been labelled as a victim. I have had others step into defend me when it wasn't asked for, and I have had others abandon me when I called for back up. Rape threats are omnipresent for women who say intelligent things on the internet: only yesterday I was told I obviously wasn't getting enough cock. Because I had an opinion. (This person REALLY doesn't know me - lol ) But still I could see into the sadness of the man who said it. He was angry and mourning the perceived loss of his power. It is hard. I know. It is hard. For all of us. 

 I have - thankfully - never received a death threat.  I am way too love and light and clearly not dangerous enough for that. But you never know. In this current hyped climate of scared and angry voices it seems enough just to think a thing for someone to want to bring you to justice. I have just witnessed the attempted public take-down of a friend for simply voicing thoughts. Yes, they were difficult-to-hear, angry thoughts but just thoughts. Thoughts brought into the public domain willingly to court a reaction, but also to seek opinions, and most importantly, to engage with other thoughts. He may be controversial and at times, maybe he can be a bit of an arse, but he will always listen. 

And I feel the fear now of saying things.  As a creative person this self censorship  is stifling. Because it is often from the angry, disturbed places that the art emerges. If thoughts were crimes, many of us would be fucked.  And many (most) books would be burned. Let's be clear, "unacceptable" thoughts are now being policed. Reputations and careers are sometimes in the balance. And this is not OK. Ruining careers because you don't like what somebody says is not a right thinking, progressive, compassionate way of engaging. Righteousness is ugly, whatever side of the socially correct fence you believe yourself to be on.

And as the wearer of the cap I want to say:

Listen. Love. Be prepared to lose your victimhood. Be prepared to re-examine your power. Be prepared to be wrong. Be prepared to hear things that will change your world-view. Hold your boundaries. Be compassionate. Speak out. Take a stand. Challenge. 

But love. And listen. 
   



Monday, 26 June 2017

Non Verbal

I have nothing to say.

It makes no sense to me 
to try and place the language of words
around the language of the body.

My body knows, 
but my words 
are either missing 
or completely inadequate 
to describe the depth and subtlety 
of what my body just knows.

I lie and listen 
to my body's rhythm. 
I tune into the pulsing
beating
surging
rocking. 

The touch: 
wanted; unwanted; maybe wanted ( I don't know) 

The nearness 
the distance
the air 
and breath 

And the movement. 
The movement
Ahhhhh
The delicious flow into relationship 
with space 
and gravity 
and other. 

I can trust this wisdom.

More than the words I hear. 

More than the words I hear
spewing forth from my mouth 
and from the mouths of others. 
Pretty Ugly symbols 
to describe something utterly utterly beyond.
Beyond their power to even begin to make sense of. 

We are so fond of words. 
So fond of words 
to describe 
and categorise
and provoke 
and hurt  
and seduce
and silence. 

Here am I in my irony. 

Here am I 
in the inadequacy of my words. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

New Moon in Gemini

On this the night of the New Moon in Gemini - the sign of my birth month - I meet myself in ritual.

I meet myself on the land. Not the land of my birth, but the land which holds space in my heart's geography.

I meet myself to find release. I ask to release all that has caused my heart to break since the time of this same New Moon last year.

All of the heartbreak

All of the loss

All of the feelings of abandonment

All of the beliefs of Not Good Enough

All Of It

...

I let the Fire receive it

I let the Water receive it

I let the Earth receive it

I let the Air receive it

...

I release to Love and Healing and Wholeness those dear beautiful men who have met me in love and in hurt.
...

I release Hiding

I release Excuses

I release Avoiding the work

I release Shying away from real intimacy

I release Dependency

...

I let it all be taken and transformed and gently caressed into wholeness by the love and goodness of All That Is.
...


गते गते पारगते पारसंगते बोधि स्वाहा

Gate, Gate, Paragate, 
Para Sam gate 
Bodhi svaha 

Gone, Gone, Gone beyond 
Gone utterly beyond 
Oh what an Awakening

~The Heart Sutra


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Let's Make Kindness Cool Again

The other night, in the middle of the night, I received a message.  I know, I know, I should switch off my phone when I am sleeping. All those radio waves’ll mess with your brainwaves. 

But WiFi was on when I fell asleep and the phone was right there next to me on the  pillow.
Ping!

“\get the fuvk ouy of my life!”

I imagine they typed it drunk. Or maybe with the hurried fingers of someone who’s angry, or who knows they’re doing something wrong ( like using  someone else’s facebook account, maybe?) and wants it over with before they're discovered, or before they change their mind.

Wow!
3 am
Thanks for that.

Whatever rationalisation I would normally have brought to bear on the situation was useless at 3 am. I spent the rest of the morning awake, reeling, anxious and, frankly, just damned sad.

My story is that this sort of nastiness floats around waiting for somewhere to land, until it is projected onto the next person. A sort of free floating energetic wave of bile. Mindfulness helps us dodge it, to duck,  or gracefully to circle out of its way. 

But when it lands, it sticks.

Whatever was going on in this person’s personal energetic orbit ( and they had their reasons I guess) they had no right  to throw it in my direction. But throw it they did, and it landed.  

The reason I am bringing it up is because I was already feeling into this idea of the free-floating unkindness. When I showed the first draft of this blog to a friend, she struggled with that concept that "unkindness" was a thing. Maybe so. I get that. But if we recognise kindness as a thing, then by unkindness, I mean that which is not kindness. A spectrum from just not very nice, to downright nasty. 

I started running with this thought as I  watched several conversations on social media descend into the kind of meanness that I last saw in the school playground. Bear in mind, my social media is populated by yogis and healers and “spiritual” people who should, frankly, know better. Now, we can forgive eight year olds for getting it wrong when they are just learning how to be in the world of people and words and feelings. What happened? When did the very people who are teaching others about kindness, forget how to be kind?

The energy of unkindness is pervasive and catching. It feeds on us like a parasite, it grows and infects and becomes so normalised, so much common currency that people seem to be unaware that they are even doing it. It  feels to me like a deep fear of exposure. The yogis and healers talk a good game about vulnerability but actually it terrifies us. And this propagates some serious projection. What terrifies us surely has to be someone else’s fault, right? Something that other people are doing wrong. Not simply a feeling that we have, that we all have.  The social media that brings people and communities together so creatively, at the same time has us going for each other’s throats. The Instagram filtered seeming perfection of everyone else’s life, job, dinner and sunset is all just so visibly, seemingly BETTER than what we have!  

Bring them down before they  bring you down?

Nah.

Kindness is utterly at the core of how I choose to be in the world.

I want to make Kindness cool again. 

Monday, 1 May 2017

Beltane Blessings

We welcome this the first day of the season of Beltane, where we honour our inner fire. 

We now begin to move more boldly into the active phase of the wheel of the year, letting go of any remaining sluggishness, heaviness, or fear that is holding us back from following our longing, our desires and our passions...

The Beltane fire is lit, and in doing so we honour the bright bold energy of the Sun as it moves in these next few weeks towards its height at midsummer.  The Beltane Sun sparks our inner flame of love, passion, creativity and sexuality. May we tend well to these precious gifts of our humanness. 

 

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Mirror

Are you listening to yourself?

Are you?

Are you listening to yourself?

This is the question circulating in and around my being. The question asked of me by one who holds a very clear, polished, stark, magnifying mirror to my bullshit. I hate it. I hate this reflection. And yet, I love and trust the mirror. 

I DON'T KNOW!

What does that even look like? Or is it sound like? 

What is it that you want? He asks. 

I wish it was that simple. What I want. 

What do I want?

I want you to listen to me

I'm listening, he says.

And he was

Listening.

...
...
...

So, who is it that is not listening to you?

...
...
...

EVERYONE!

No, he says, it's YOU!

You're not listening to yourself.
...
...
...
It's ALL You!