Friday, 4 November 2022

Dona Nobis Pacem ~ Freedom is an Illusion

This year,  the theme for Blog for Peace is No Freedom, No Peace

"It's hard to remain unbound
when the world wants to keep you in chains. 

 Are you free? And if you're not, what is holding you back?
I am convinced that no amount of peace can spring from even a sliver of bondage.
Figure it out. What is keeping you bound? 

When you fight for your freedom you are fighting for your peace.
When we fight for OUR freedom, we are fighting for our peace.
That's everything."

I must admit, this one stumped me. Am I literally free? No. What keeps me bound, what is holding me back? Lack of money. Can I fix that? Unlikely.

Then I thought about the gloriously ironic problem facing the mega-rich preppers. It seems many super-rich are building survival bunkers, in case of the collapse of civilisation due to an apocalyptic event or 3rd world war. Thing is... once the world falls apart, money ceases to have meaning. These darling rich dumbos have realised, after carefully constructing the ultimate luxury survival bases, that those people they take with them as bodyguards and servants won't see any salary as worthwhile once money has no worth.  And then? What if the bodyguards just kick you out and take over your secret blankie fort?

In a post-apocalypse world, money will have no power.
Money as freedom will be an illusion. 

Such a hilarious conundrum! 

Are the mega-rich paranoid? Are we seeing the collapse of civilisation?  It's possible. Many modern nations possess weapons capable of destroying entire cities or small countries. The modern nuclear bombs are 80 times more powerful than those used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. How much land can you destroy with a bomb 80 times bigger?

And even before we get to that stage (which seems more and more possible, recently), there's the other problem so many places are facing - internal disintegration. I'm watching my American friends online talking about the polarisation and paranoid hate of their opposing political parties. There's mass-hysteria and paranoia everywhere I turn. I'm seeing it in news and family/friend stories from Africa, Asia, Europe, Britain... our old political systems are collapsing. They will go extinct, same as any other dinosaur, but until that is over our lives are all affected. We are living in a time of flux and change. We cannot stop this; it is inevitable. And that is scary, but also exciting. 

The positive thing about the mega-rich realising money is an illusion is that it shows us where the power actually lies. Real power is in your hands. It always has been and always will be. Power comes from people working together. Freedom comes from realising there is no "YOU vs ME", only "US".

We are all one species on a planet that could very possibly tear itself apart. The only way we can get through that, and thrive rather than merely survive, is by realising we are all one. No countries, no races, no ridiculous prejudices based on inconsequential man-made things like politics and religions. We are ONE species, quite as capable of extinction as any other. But we need to wake up and realise that.

Ultimately, the only freedom you have lies within you, not around you. Your mind is your freedom. Your soul/conscience is your freedom. You are as free as your thoughts, when you decide for yourself rather than allowing others to influence or manipulate what you think. You are as free as your integrity, when you base it on your spiritual connection to Creator/Creation rather than the morality of other peoples' ideologies. 

Freedom is an illusion until you claim your core freedoms.

And that Peace cannot be taken from you.

 

I've chosen a quote from one of my books, this year. It sums up my personal opinions as well as the opinion of my book character. 

One world - one species. 

We are all brothers and sisters. 



Thursday, 27 October 2022

Rebranded: First Light Saga Books

It's official! My books are rebranded on Amazon as a linked series. They have new covers and some new content. 

For old fans, do not despair! Nothing good was removed or taken out, and not much has been added. A few continuity issues between book 1 and 2 needed sorting, and otherwise the only difference is a "bit of polish", as in improved proofing and formatting.

The old books covers had to go. No one liked them, not even me. They, as one reviewer complained, did nothing for the story. The new covers have so far had a great response in preview. I love them, I hope you do too. 


I originally proofread and edited my books when I was sick with Fibromyalgia and Endometriosis. Unfortunately, both illnesses give you brain fog, and my recollection of removing all typos and errors was not the case. The fact there were still errors has freaked me for years. I'm so glad it's done! I owe that in large part to my husband, who paid to have them properly proofread this time. :) I've added his name as "contributor" to both books, as a “Thank You”. 

The new Amazon series section has this up for series information: 

Book 1 of 2: FIRST LIGHT Book 2 of 2: WISDOMS OF THE LIGHT 

The lands of Sindorus are controlled by the militant Za-Har and their despotic leader, the Zah-Riel. For centuries, they have ruled through fear. No one is beyond their control.

 Or so they think…

 In this world without hope, where nature is dying and colour is a crime, an older power is awakening. From the far South, where the rebels continue fighting for freedom, to the North, where life is a constant juggling of lies and deceptions, their world is about to undergo an extreme transformation. And everything is interconnected. 

“You seek the truth, that is always the first step, and you see the colours. I’ve noticed that much more in the past months. Something has awakened you.” 

Trust the Light. 

What Readers are Saying 

‘A remarkable variety of issues and insight that is woven into an intricate tapestry of a story that has not one loose thread. Powerful, disturbing and yet beautifully inspiring.’

‘First Light is a story and a myth, an allegory and a prophecy. It is a story of the heart, of hope and courage.’ ‘the story's metaphorical layers have great relevance for the times in which we live. A wonderful read--one that people from ages 10 to 100 can enjoy and benefit from.’ 

‘The characters being so utterly vivid and the very idea behind the story being woven into a pattern, where at times you know exactly where the story is headed for, only to realize on the next page that you haven't got a clue, make this book a true page turner.’ 

 ‘What I like most about this book, which I also loved about the first book, is that it surprises you around every corner. You think you have something all figured out and then you get a few chapters on and suddenly all is not what it seemed.’ 

 ‘From the very first page you are taken on a journey immersed with completely believable characters who take root in your heart and won't let go.’  

 ‘Beautifully written, her poignant, memorable characters draw you into a tale filled with the struggle for freedom and balance. Satisfying to the mind, heart, and soul.’ 

‘Cracking read and well worth the wait’

Wednesday, 6 July 2022

In Gratitude

This week, I've realised something huge - the old South Africa and (some of) the USA are very much alike; which is why so much of the USA stuff triggers me. It brings back a lot of bad memories. Maybe I've just been exceptionally unlucky, or maybe I've just been more aware. Either way, it was often nothing huge, just constant small slap downs. Slap... slap... slap... until you either break and give in or burst into Fury.

And for how to control the Fury and use it... I owe that to my mom and dad. ❤

I had parents whose motto was, "If you see wrong - fix it, help it, heal it, and ALWAYS SPEAK OUT about it."

I had great role models. ❤ Tiresome at times. As a teenager, I didn't always appreciate the fact my parents stood up and got involved. As a teen you just want to be popular. But even then, I learned a lot, and it's made me a better person. I am so grateful for their foundation.

And thank you, Srinivas Shastri, for constantly reminding me that the most powerful and healing Fury is tempered in kindness. You gave me a better view of my self.

And thank you to the women (my mom, friends and family) who taught me how to release the Fury. I tended to bottle up my anger, in fear of doing harm. I have often been the "self harmer" - preferring to be the one hurt rather than hurting. It took several wise women to teach me to trust my own voice and not back down when others tried to manipulate me. You all gave me my voice.

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

My Body is Mine - Your body is Yours

The recent news that the USA Supreme court has overturned Roe vs Wade is a dark day for women living there. For all women, really. To have 50 years of bodily autonomy declared irrelevant overnight impacts  all of us.

I'm tired now.

I'm tired of having to explain why a foetus (no matter whether it is loved or wanted, or feared and not wanted) is not a person. A foetus may be the potential to become a person, but as a potential "maybe" it cannot hold the same legal rights as the woman whose body it is in. The woman already is a person... or the girl, as in the recent case of the ten-year-old rape victim who had to flee to another USA state in order to have the abortion she needed.

WHO THE HELL REFUSES TO HELP A TEN-YEAR-OLD RAPE VICTIM?

I am angry now.

More angry than I have words to form into coherent thought. But thankfully, I'm not alone. From Australia to Africa, to Europe and Canada... women all over the world are angry both for their sisters in the USA but also for themselves. Everywhere I look, women are sharing their anger and their stories. Best of all, I'm seeing MEN stand up and say, "We are angry too; this is wrong." From Kendrick Lamar to men I know personally - friends and family. It's still far too few men, but it is a start.

I am grieving now.

This has brought back memories of not having my body treated as my own. I only realised this looking back - too late - my body was never treated as mine. When I first showed signs of endometriosis, in my 20s, the gynaecologist I was sent to ignored the signs and instead went on this weird rant. Instead of  focussing on my symptoms and why I was actually there, he raged at me for being single and how I needed to take better care of my ability to have children.

I wasn't a person with health concerns - I was a womb. I wasn't someone in pain - I was an incubator.

In my 30s, when endometriosis nearly killed me twice over, I should have been offered a hysterectomy. I wasn't. I should have had all the full implications of "staying able to have children" explained to me. It wasn't. And as a result, the damage in my 40s was *extensive and life-altering. I was sacrificed to keep my fertile, for a future man who never existed until when I finally did marry, I was too damaged to ever keep a pregnancy and too damaged to ever live a full and healthy life.

My body is mine. My body WAS mine. Why wasn't it ever treated that way?

I am determined now.

I will not shut up. I will not let any other woman or girl not know that HER BODY is HERS ALONE, but we now have a huge battle ahead of us. The Patriarchy has to go. It is an ancient toad, sitting in a swamp it created with its own warped mental excrement. It always was a lie and now, more and more, it cannot hide. The swamp is being drained and no matter how ferociously it fights, it will become extinct.


It is inevitable.  




Monday, 4 July 2022

My Battle with Endometriosis


Endometriosis showed up in my 20s, although I did not know that then. I had bad menstrual pain, heavy bleeding and hormone imbalance. All which were ignored by my male doctor and male gynaecologists. My doctor (later admitted) thought I was a hypochondriac. The first gynae was just horrible. He seemed to hate me from the moment I entered the room, so my mind boggles at what my doctor had written to him about me!

Because my endo wasn't picked up on, the endometrial tissue kept spreading throughout my abdomen, affecting all my lower abdomen organs and muscles. When I started losing wight, I thought I'd found a diet that worked and bought a new wardrobe. Even though I had severe pain with constipation, I thought that was also due to my dieting. I never realised it was because the endometrial tissue had formed a band of shrinking scar tissue around my intestines that could very easily have led to a rupture and/or gangrene.

Then one night, I woke up to HUGE pain, but Stoic me waited till morning to phone the doctor (ambulances are expensive in SA as well as USA). My doctor admitted afterwards (he did apologise!) that he didn't think my pain was genuine, but thankfully he sent me for a scan anyway. They found an ovarian cyst the size of a grapefruit had torn my ovary apart. I was bleeding internally. I had surgery the next day, but they messed up. Not realising how damaged I was internally, this new gynaecologist caused more damage and had to call in the help of a second surgeon. I was under for several hours as they worked to save me. (SIDE NOTE: it was this emergency surgery that triggered my fibromyalgia)

You see, endometrial tissue is like living glue - it fuses to whatever it touches and every month, it bleeds. And when it bleeds… it fuses to more places. By that stage, my womb was fused to my bladder and my intestines and kidneys were fused to my back muscles, causing the constant back pain that had been an ongoing problem since my 20s. They had to remove one ovary. I should have been offered a hysterectomy - I wasn't. I should have had the long term details explained to me - they weren't. In fact, when I asked gynae #2 to explain what endometriosis was, he snapped, "I told you this already!" 

I pointed out that he has explained straight after surgery, when I was still groggy and drugged up. I made him explain again, which he did briefly and with great annoyance. I had to go away and find the information for myself, which was a slow and difficult journey since good information on this disease was still very limited back in the 1990s.

By the time I married, I was told I probably could not have kids, but once again I was not offered any help or suggestions. No pain care, no medications, nothing.

In Scotland, I miscarried twice. First time, was within a week or so, but I still knew I'd been pregnant. Second time, was longer and more unpleasant as a result. No one explained to me that I'd probably never have managed to carry a baby full term, or without danger, pain and complications, since by that stage my womb had been fused to itself  (gynae #3 said "folded over and glued to itself like an envelope") as well as fused to my bladder and lower intestines.

A year after my last miscarriage, the pain started to be intense. I couldn't lie down without pain. Yes, I told doctors. Nothing was done about it. I went home and basically stopped sleeping for about a month. Then one morning, the pain went up to epic level and my mom took me to the doctor where a FEMALE doctor booked me into emergency straight away.

This time, the remaining ovary had ruptured - bloated with cysts and fused to other organs. This time I was offered help - medications and the option of a hysterectomy, but with the warning that a hysterectomy would be dangerous and possibly life-threatening. Since all my lower abdomen organs were fused to each other, they could not remove my womb entirely. They'd have to cut off bits, leaving the pieces fused to other organs behind. That would mean each little portion would bleed when I menstruated, and probably cause more issues rather than solving them. On top of that, cutting it away when fused to everything else meant there was a pretty good chance that they could damage other organs or rupture my intestines.

I refused the surgery and took medications instead. The meds caused early menopause, with all the symptoms and annoyances of that. As an extra, the meds also made me put on a lot of weight. And finally... I had rare side-effects - extreme water retention and peripheral nerve damage: numbness, loss of balance, loss of ability to hold or use fiddly items like pens, paint brushes, etc for long (my hands cramp up). The cramping is mostly in my fingers, feet and toes, but sometimes I get weird painful muscle cramping in my legs, sides and shoulders. The nerve issue has led to other types of foot damage

Sleeping is still painful. Some nights are ok, some are bad. It's never comfortable. I have low grade pain constantly. It's mild, thankfully. Sleeping, standing and walking are the worst causes of pain. So I have to limit how much I stand and walk, which obviously hasn't helped me tackle the weight gain!

And it is VERY tiring. I get exhausted quickly. I can go from okay to a very not okay in minutes.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Mark Twain Quote

 From the New York Herald, October 15, 1900:

"I left these shores, at Vancouver, a red-hot imperialist. I wanted the American eagle to go screaming into the Pacific. It seemed tiresome and tame for it to content itself with the Rockies. Why not spread its wings over the Philippines, I asked myself? And I thought it would be a real good thing to do.

I said to myself, here are a people who have suffered for three centuries. We can make them as free as ourselves, give them a government and country of their own, put a miniature of the American constitution afloat in the Pacific, start a brand new republic to take its place among the free nations of the world. It seemed to me a great task to which had addressed ourselves.

But I have thought some more, since then, and I have read carefully the Treaty of Paris, and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem. . .

It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to make those people free, and let them deal with their own domestic questions in their own way. And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle get its talons on any other land."

Mark Twain.

 





https://www.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/1898/twain.html

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Are You part of the Solution or part of the Problem?

 


For this special edition of Blogblast for Peace, I'd like to focus on one question: 

Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?

For me, the conflict in Ukraine is shining a huge spotlight on all the things that need to change before humans can ever hope to have world peace.

It's impressive how many countries are offering homes to Ukrainian refugees, but also completely  hypocritical. The UK voted for Brexit in large part to stop the influx of migrant workers and refugees. They have even tried to make it illegal for ships to rescue refugees at sea. In the USA, Americans who voted for Trump wanted pretty much the same - no more refugees, no more illegal immigrants. Build that wall! Similar in Australia, with their refugee detention centres.

If you are completely behind your country allowing in Ukrainians, but not willing to speak out at those refugees dying in oceans and trucks, still held in detention centres, then you are part of the problem. 

By Adam.J.W.C. - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14985392

 

If you think Putin should be tried for war crimes, for invading Ukraine, but are not also lobbying to see Tony Blair and President Bush stand trial for lying about Sadam having weapons of Mass destruction in order to invade Iraq... you are part of the problem.

A 2016 study by Carnegie Mellon University professor Dov Levin found that the United States intervened in 81 foreign elections between 1946 and 2000, with the majority of those being through covert, rather than overt, actions.[91][92] A 2021 review of the existing literature found that foreign interventions since World War II tend overwhelmingly to fail to achieve their purported objectives.[93]

If you truly stand for Peace, for justice and a better way, you cannot pick and choose which country you support. That's how world wars start, when others "pick a side".

If you cannot be objective - you are part of the problem.

Wars and conflict do not start in a vacuum; they tend to erupt after unresolved issues are ignored for decades and/or when other countries intervene... and other countries do not intervene unless there's something in it for them. Humans as individuals can be caring and altruistic, but world governments are rarely into self-sacrifice for the Greater Good. Governments do what is best for themselves and their country first. All of them. And as such, their participation in any conflict is at best "dark grey" vs "light grey".

If you see one side, in any conflict, as "Good" and the other as "Evil" - you are part of the problem.

We now know that there were several German resistance movements who fought against the Nazis, but back in WWII the whole attitude was that EVERY German was evil. Britain rebranded products to remove any trace of Germany. So German Biscuits became Empire Biscuits and the British Royals dropped their German titles. And now I see people online talking about hating Russians, because of Ukraine. That they're not drinking Vodka any more because it is Russian... seriously?

Have we learned NOTHING?

If you think Russians are responsible for their leader's choices, then should those Americans who disliked Trump claim full responsibility for the things he did, even though they never voted for him? And do those Americans who did vote for Trump now feel they have to shoulder the responsibility for whatever Biden chooses to do? I doubt it. Everyday people have very little control over what their governments and leaders decide to do. 

If you see ANY country's population as completely culpable for what their leaders/military do... you are absolutely part of the problem!

I know, because I lived in a country, tagged by many as "evil" - Apartheid South Africa of the 1970s-80s. I know how complex and many-layered the truth of a country can be, then watch how it is over-simplified by the world news in order to stir up emotional interest. South Africa has 11 official languages, 6 major religions and, pre-1990, a racial classification system of THREE segregated racial types.

I know how it feels to have strangers hate you simply because of the country you live in, not bothering to find out your opinions on that country. I recently posted an article on Farm murders in South Africa on Facebook. A British friend wrote back that he would not try to raise help and support because the farmers were "white" and (his words), "Well, what can you expect? Apartheid." Except this is now 30 years after Apartheid ended, and so those young thugs torturing and murdering people have never lived in anything but a free and completely equal society.

If you see any group as deserving death, pain and suffering... you are part of the problem.

I have no grand solutions to offer here, beyond this fact - we have to change how we deal with each other, or we will eventually destroy each other and our planet. Repeating the same old mistakes isn't good enough any more.