Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Countdown to Blogblast - BRAVE!

The theme for Blogblast for Peace this year (Nov 4-7 2021) is..
 
"Courageous Peace in a Time of Great Change"
 

I'm ready! :) And here's my inspiration... Brave!




You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody's lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
...
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Growing Brighter

 I saw this picture on a friend's Facebook today...


... it hit home for several reasons.

The first being that this was something I failed badly at, when I was young; I regularly dimmed my light when I was a teen. It started after I moved countries, at age 10, and wanted to just "fit in" at my new schools in a strange new culture.

Looking back, I can see that a lot of the "me" from those high school years (I was 12 when I entered high school) was barely visible and often hardly ME at all. And even after I finished school, the ME I truly was had become so buried under the "me" I wore to be accepted that I really only managed to be my true self in small bursts, usually when I was too tired or too emotional to care if anyone was offended or scared by my brightness. 

In my late 30s, I had just begun peeling back the dimness and was beginning to shine, when I married and moved countries again. Immigrating triggered all those old feelings of insecurity, of not "fitting", and sadly, once again, I began to dim myself down in order to fit in.

It's taken me a long time to understand that there's a lot more to dimming my light than I realised. And Facebook made me notice that. You see, on Facebook I have gathered everyone I want to keep contact with in a fast-easy way. That includes a very varied range of people, from childhood friends and family to new friends and people I know through various work/interests.

This is what happened - I began to lose friends. A few at first, but these last 18 months it's been more. I began to think, "What is wrong with me?" Today I realised... there's nothing wrong with ME, but there was a lot wrong with the dim "me" I was still, often unconsciously, using to fit in. I lost Facebook friends because many of those very different people only knew the dimmed "me" I had used when we were together.  But once they were all on my Facebook wall, all in the same "room", there was no way I could juggle all the dimmed "me" variants and the real ME started to emerge.

I'd say, at this stage, I'm the brightest ME on Facebook that I've ever been. And that ME is ever evolving as I open up to who I truly am. And that has caused problems. People have un-friended ME, because I've been "too" -. "too loud", "too quiet", "too Left", "too Middle of the Road", "too forceful", "too soft"... I've had all of those as accusations. And they have hurt at times. The old "me" wanted to scrabble madly to fit in, but on social media, under so much scrutiny, it was impossible to please everyone and so... I began choosing what pleased me.

I embraced my "too much" and accepted my "too bright-ness". I'm still working on this and yes, sometimes I'm still losing friends. I lost a dear friend recently. This person left me with "too blunt" and "too forceful". Am I? I have others who grumble that I'm "too accepting", "too polite" and "too forgiving". Am I both? Or am I just... ME. Messy, complicated, still evolving. A star in the process of learning how to be a sun. Sometimes burning things, but always unintentionally. Trying to be warming, but aware that some can only cope with so much brightness.

So, whoever you are, whatever type of star you might be, or be in the process of becoming... just SHINE. Those that need your light will find you and yes, those that aren't able to cope will move on. Love them and let them go. They are their own stars, they will find their own place in the sky to shine. 

The universe is big enough for everyone. 

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Repeat Patterns

 I drew this picture a long time ago, in the 1990s, as an illustration for a book: "Die Dans van die Brein/The Brain Dance" by Shani Grove


This drawing was for a chapter on how, and why, ordinary individuals lose their self-identity when they join group belief systems. The harmful systems, such as cults and extremist political groups, in particular.

On January 6th 2021, I saw this illustration in action on the TV news when mobs attacked the Capitol Building in the USA. It was a strange feeling. I'd been convinced this would happen for over four years and yet seeing what I had feared happening was still shocking.

I first heard about Donald Trump about five years ago. I guess he was well known to many by then, but I'm not much into paparazzi or reality TV. I had no idea who he was until he exploded into Scottish news with a new golf course he was proposing to build in our county. Within a very short time, he had managed to antagonise a large percentage of Scottish people with his bullying business tactics that eventually revealed him to be a greedy, vindictive, and untrustworthy liar. "What a nasty little man," I thought to myself, and dismissed him.

When he reappeared on the news a while later, as a candidate for the US presidential elections, I was bemused. Did he really think people would vote for a crooked businessman as president? Was he really that much of an egotist? I decided to watch one of his campaign speeches to see.

And my blood ran cold.

I'd seen this scenario played out on old TV news reels, but I never expected to see it live in my own lifetime. No matter how derogatory and hate-based his speech became, the crowds cheered. I don't know how many of Trump's campaign speeches I ended up watching, I just remember the important bits. Like the night he made fun of a disabled reporter and the constant, pounding messages so similar to those that Hitler had used on his own doting fans.

And why did it work then? For the exact same reasons it worked now: because the Germans were desperate for positive change. Germany was reeling from the harsh WWI reparations and the Great Depression. People had no jobs, no money, no hope. They were starving for hope and Hitler fed them the two things needed to fulfil them: a promise of making Germany great again and someone to blame.

Make Germany great again... because it's not your fault, Mr Ordinary-German with your wife and two kids. You are the chosen one. The true people. The higher blood line. You deserve better. You deserve the best. And it was taken from you... by THEM.

THEM.

The disabled, the gays, the lesser races who take your jobs, your women, your country's money and resources. Don't hate yourself. Don't ever take responsibility. Blame THEM and follow me. I will make us great again. 
 
You know, I listed them in that order, because the Nazis used the "final solution" on the disabled and elderly before they moved on to homosexuals, Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah Witnesses...

THEM.

Let's blame them. Let's rally up our mob mentality and blame THEM: the Hispanic races, the Mexicans, the disabled, the homosexuals, Trans kids wanting to be safe in public toilets, fleeing refugees, Canadians, journalists, women with an opinion, Muslims, the Left, The Democrats... 

THEM.

You know, even as I watched Trump going on about how evil and bad THEY were, even as I felt that ice-cold fear of recognition, I still told myself I was paranoid. And surely people would not vote this man into office? Surely people would see through his egomania and be turned off by his hate-filled prose? But I'd forgotten my book illustration and that chapter on how easily people are sucked into belief systems that seem insane to those watching from the outside.

For the last four years, I've constantly tried to make those in the spiral see that this man they follow is a narcissist. Constantly said "He is dangerous." He is hate-filled. He twists the truth to suit his own agendas and he cares NOTHING for anyone but his own self. He fuels bigotry and fear of anyone different. He makes them the problem; the obstacle that needs to be overcome in order to make everything great again. In doing so, he has even made good people believe bad things. I know families and friends who have turned against each other because of this man's constant messages of hate.

And now, as the world watches the USA reeling like some boxer punch-drunk from too many blows, I'm saying it again. This man has done serious harm and he will continue to be dangerous until you tackle his legacy: the hate. 
 
His leaving the White House will change nothing until people on all sides return to seeing each other clearly, as individuals of the same country, with the same right to respect. If you cannot let go of hating THEM, there will never be a healthy US (play on words intended).

It's up to all of you now, Americans. Left, Right or whatever; all races, genders, religions. YOU are the country and only your strength and compassion can put it back together again.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Blog for Peace 2020 ~ Perfect Vision

When I first sat down to write a post for this year's event... words left me. There was no room for them. All the space inside me was taken up with emotion.

This has been an exceptionally emotional year on a global level. We started with devastating fires in Australia (how we worried for friends and family over there!) and went straight on into Covid19 with its assorted political chaos, worldwide protests and then even more climate disasters. We have been inside a storm, not for days but for months. All of us. Everyone. No one is untouched by this year's events.


Canberra, Orroral Valley, January 28, 2020. New research suggests the recent record-breaking heat in Australia, which is linked to climate change, helped increase the region’s fire risk by at least 30 percent.

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/australia-wildfires-climate-change
Nick-D/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

All of this has taken its toll. I'm seeing more angry people than ever before. Because fear makes people angry, it's a natural survival mechanism. Fear makes us feel out of control - rage gives back the feeling of control. Rage helped us fight off the predatory beasts when we were a young species still throwing rocks and sticks.

Anger can be very useful as it gives us the courage to face our demons, but it has to be wielded with calm and a clear mind. Thoughtless anger is chaos. It's the mob burning innocent women as witches and the person refusing to wear a mask during Covid19 because they are secretly, deeply, afraid. Terrified that the virus really exists, so they pretend it's a hoax. Terrified that if it is a hoax some secret and even worse harm is being done to them, such as taking away their personal power and freedoms.

Terrified.

Just as you have to turn and face the wolves on the path, you have to face what you fear. You cannot fix the problem, or slay the demon, without first understanding the fear beneath your anger.

For me, it's been the realisation that I get most angry when I see people being irrational. Why? Because I fear they might do/say things they will regret once they've calmed down enough to see the truth. My rage is based on my fear of them doing terrible harm: to me or to others, to themselves and to their countries or our planet. But to find that truth I had to step back and see with my heart.

What secret fear drives your anger? 

Turn around and face it.

Find the truth in your heart.

Then take that truth and reclaim your power.

The phrase "2020 vision" means to have perfect eyesight; to see with utter clarity. Could there be a better wish for this 2020 year than that? To see clearly, from the heart? 

This is my hope and my prayer...

 

If being separated from each other during Covid19 has only one positive result it should be this: that in being forced apart we finally realised we are all in this together. One planet and one humanity. 

Dona Nobis Pacem... in 2020 vision.




Sunday, 18 October 2020

My Prayer

Dona Nobis Pacem - 2020 Vision

In this year of 2020 vision,
give us the clear sight needed
to see through lies and illusions.
Help us to heal our planet,
our people, our families and our nations.
Allow us to see how all is connected
and everything sacred.
No nation greater, no species of less value,
no race above another.

Give us the wisdom to understand
that anger at injustice
is as much a sacred flame
as love and forgiveness.
Teach us to wield the sword of truth
gently and with honour,
and help us to once again believe
in each other: our beauty, our frailty,
our courage and our compassion.

Grant us the blessing of compassion
for those who would destroy us
through their ignorance or fear.
And when the night seems dark
and endless, remind us
of that small, enduring light named kindness.
Let us carry it forward with us, each of us,
all of us, in every heart.
Dona nobis pacem... grant us peace.

Michelle Frost ~ October 2020